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BMC Infect Dis. 2009 Apr 20;9:45. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-9-45.

Invasive Haemophilus influenzae infections in Germany: impact of non-type b serotypes in the post-vaccine era.

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Department Epidemiology, Institute for Social Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.



Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccination led to a significant decrease in invasive bacterial infections in children. The aim of this study was to assess a potential shift to more non-type b invasive infections in a population with high Hib vaccination coverage and to compare the burden of suffering between children with Hib, capsulated non-b and non-capsulated Hi infections.


Cases with confirmed invasive Hi infections were ascertained through two independent nationwide active surveillance systems in 1998-2005. Information on possible predisposing conditions and clinical information was available from 2001 onwards.


The total number of reported non-type b Hi cases varied between 10 cases in 1998, 27 in 2000 and 14 in 2005. In each year, non-capsulated serotypes outnumbered capsulated non-type b ones. 192 cases were detected in 2001-2005, more than one half was non-type b and 88% of the non-type b cases were non-capsulated. For cases with Hib/capsulated non-type b infections the most common clinical presentation was meningitis (67% each); 89%/78% had no potential predisposing condition, 75%/72% completely recovered from disease and 6% (each) died. In contrast, meningitis was diagnosed in 34% of the non-capsulated Hi infections, septicaemia in 28% and pneumonia 21%; 62% had no potential predisposing condition, 83% completely recovered and 3% died.


There was no increase in non-type b Hi invasive infections during 8 years of active surveillance in Germany. Invasive disease due to non-type b Hi is not confined to children with risk factors. In patients with capsulated non-type b Hi infections the proportion of meningitis cases is similar to Hib, but double as high as in non-capsulated Hi.

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