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Braz J Med Biol Res. 2005 May;38(5):777-81. Epub 2005 May 25.

Occurrence of Haemophilus influenzae strains in three Brazilian states since the introduction of a conjugate Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine.

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Instituto Nacional de Controle da Qualidade em Saúde, Departamento de Microbiologia, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.


Few vaccines in history have induced such a dramatic decline in incidence over such a short period of time as the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate. This vaccine was introduced in 1988 in the United States, but only in 1999 was Hib immunization introduced by the Brazilian Ministry of Health as part of the routine infant National Immunization Program. The authors analyzed 229 H. influenzae (Hi) isolates from Public Health Laboratories in three Brazilian states: Pernambuco (Northeast, N = 54), Santa Catarina (South, N = 19), and Rio de Janeiro (Southeast, N = 156). The isolates were collected from Brazilian children 0-10 years of age with meningitis and other infections from 1990 to 2003 and were part of the research collection of the National Institute of Quality Control in Health, FIOCRUZ. Bacterial strains were characterized by serotyping and biotyping. During the pre-vaccination period the prevalence infection due to Hib was of 165 isolates and only 2 non-b Hi among all the notified meningitis infections caused by Hi. Our results showed a significant decrease in the prevalence of Hib meningitis from 165 to 33 isolates after 1999. However, during the post-vaccination period of 2001-2003 we observed an increase in the number of non-b Hi isolates: only 2 non-b strains isolated from 1990 to 1999 and 29 from 1999 to 2003. Based on the present data, the authors emphasize the need for more sensitive epidemiological and bacteriological studies aiming the improvement of the available Hib vaccine, in order to protect the susceptible population to infections due to other serological types of Hi and the reevaluation of immunization schedules used by the National Immunization Program.

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