Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a dangerous disease caused by a bacteria that is spread through the air.
Hib spreads person-to-person from people who have the Hib bacteria in their nose or throat.
People infected with Hib may not appear sick.
Hib can cause meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord) that can lead to permanent deafness and brain damage.
It can also cause pneumonia, blood infections and severe swelling in the throat that can block breathing and lead to death.
Hib infections are much lower in the U.S. thanks to the widespread vaccinations of children. In other parts of the world, the disease kills thousands of children each year.
Hib usually infects children younger than 5 years old.
All children should receive three or four doses of Hib vaccine (depending on the brand of vaccine), beginning when they are 2 months old.