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Infect Agents Dis. 1996 Jan;5(1):8-20.

Impact of immunization on Haemophilus influenzae type b disease.

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Wyeth-Lederle Vaccines and Pediatrics, West Henrietta, New York, U.S.A.


Epidemiological surveillance programs have shown that before the introduction of effective vaccines, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the primary pathogen associated with bacterial meningitis in children. Vaccines composed of the bacterium's polysaccharide conjugated onto protein carriers began to be introduced into routine health care practices for infants as early as 1989 in some European countries. Continued introduction in industrialized nations, including the United States in late 1990, has resulted in the rapid decline in the incidence of reported invasive Hib disease. Follow-up surveillance studies show that (a) the decline in the incidence of Hib disease is temporally related to the introduction of effective vaccines, (b) the decline in Hib epiglottitis preceded the decline in meningitis in the United States, (c) the incidence of disease declined in children under the age of 5 years but remained constant in older children and adults, (d) other bacterial pathogens are now the primary causative agents of infant meningitis and epiglottitis even though the incidence of disease caused by these other pathogens has not changed, and (e) the pharyngeal carriage rate of Hib in children has declined without any evidence of an increase in the carriage of non-type b strains or other pathogens. The introduction of effective conjugate vaccines appears to protect at-risk children from invasive Hib disease as well as reduce the opportunities for interpersonal transmission of this bacterium. In addition, Hib conjugate vaccine utilization has benefited society through economic savings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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