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Int J Infect Dis. 2010 May;14(5):e372-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2009.06.018. Epub 2009 Sep 6.

Incidence of childhood Haemophilus influenzae type b meningitis in Sri Lanka.

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Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health, No. 231, de Saram Place, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka.



To demonstrate the burden of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease in Sri Lanka and provide information for decision-making in public health planning and vaccine introduction.


This was a prospective, population-based study carried out in 2004, to describe the epidemiology and calculate the incidence of meningitis caused by Hib in children <5 years of age in the district of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Hib was identified in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens by culture and antigen detection (latex agglutination test; LAT).


The lumbar puncture rate in children <5 years of age was 1.9%. A causative bacterial organism was identified in 108 meningitis cases, and in 54 (50%) this was Hib. The LAT increased the Hib detection rate in CSF four-fold. In 2004, the annual incidence of Hib meningitis in Colombo was 20.1 cases per 100000 children aged <5 years.


This study is the first from Sri Lanka reporting the Hib meningitis incidence rate pre-vaccine introduction. The reported incidence rate is one of the highest from the Asian region, but is likely an underestimation considering the difficulties in the laboratory identification of Hib.

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