Hib Infant Death
The Cattaraugus County Health Department’s Medical Director, Gilbert Witte, MD announced that there has been an infant death in the western part of Cattaraugus County from Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) meningitis. The infant had not received any immunizations. Hib is a serious disease that can affect many organ systems. The most common types of invasive disease are meningitis, epiglottitis (severe swelling in the throat), pneumonia and cellulitis.
Hib disease is transmitted by contact with mucus or droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person. Symptoms may include fever, lethargy and a stiff neck. Other symptoms depend upon the part of the body infected. The incubation for Hib disease is unknown but is probably less than one week after exposure. Antibiotics can be used to treat serious infections. Before the availability of the Hib vaccine in 1985, over 1,000 children under the age of 5 died yearly. There are currently several Hib vaccines available in the United States although at this time, shortages have occurred. Hib vaccine is recommended at 2,4,6 and 12 - 15 months of age depending on the brand used. Children over 5 years usually do not need Hib vaccine unless they have special health conditions, such as sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, or those who have immune-compromising conditions. The single most important preventive measure is to maintain a high level of immunization in the community.
For more information on Hib disease, contact the Cattaraugus County Health Department at 701-3422 OR 1-800-251-2584. You may also review information at the Cattaraugus County Health Department web site at www.cattco.org/health