Immunisation & Vaccine Preventable Diseases

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Immunisation and Vaccines

Haemophilus Influenzae

General Information | Surveillance & Epidemiology | Vaccination


Haemophilus influenzae are bacteria, which can cause acute invasive disease. They are divided into encapsulated and unencapsulated (or non-typeable) strains. Encapsulated strains are further classified into six serotypes (a to f), of which type b (Hib) is the most pathogenic. Although commonly carried in the respiratory tract, H. influenzae can cause meningitis, septicaemia and acute respiratory infections. Other important, but less frequent, presentations include epiglottitis, osteomyelitis and septic arthritis. The incubation period is short, probably around two to four days. As with other forms of bacterial meningitis, H. influenzae meningitis can lead to severe, long-term neurological complications including deafness, convulsions and learning difficulties. The case fatality ratio of H. influenzae is approximately 5%.

Vaccination provides the most effective strategy for prevention of Hib. Hib vaccine is included in Scottish Immunisation Programme for young children, and some older individuals at higher risk of infection.

Information Resources

Department of Health

Health Protection Management of Hib

Training and Educational Materials for healthcare professionals

Public Information