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Pediatrics. 1990 Apr;85(4 Pt 2):662-6.

Passive immunization for infection with Haemophilus influenzae type b.

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Dept. of International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Haemophilus influenzae type b is the leading cause of meningitis in children younger than 5 years of age in the United States. The incidence of infection with H influenzae type b in certain populations, such as Apache and Navajo Indians and Alaskan Eskimos, is 10 to 20 times higher than in the general US population. Another important feature of H influenzae type b infections in these populations is that more than 80% of the cases occur during the first year of life, with 35% to 45% occurring during the first 6 months. One of the currently licensed vaccines that contains the capsular polysaccharide of the H influenzae type b organism is not reliably immunogenic in infants younger than 18 months of age. A number of new H influenzae type b vaccines prepared by covalently coupling the H influenzae type b capsular polysaccharide with a protein carrier antigen are undergoing clinical evaluation. One of these conjugate vaccines was shown to be efficacious in preventing disease caused by H influenzae type b in Finnish infants when they were immunized at 3, 4, and 6 months of age. Unfortunately, in a recently concluded trial, the same vaccine was not found to be efficacious in preventing such disease in infants younger than 1 year of age among the Alaskan Eskimo population. We have evaluated an alternative approach for protecting high-risk infants.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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