You've Got What?
How infectious diseases are spread and simple and practical advice for preventing the spread of infection in the home and community
The bacterium Haemophilus influenzae serotype b (Hib) can cause serious infection in humans. Other serotypes of Haemophilus influenzae (not type b) are found in the nose and throat of up to 80% of healthy people and can also cause infections, though they do not commonly cause meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). (Serotype refers to groups of microorganisms that are extremely closely related, but can be distinguished by having slightly different antigens (a foreign substance which causes the body to produce antibodies) or causing the body to produce slightly different antibodies).
Hib is a notifiable condition1
The disease is spread:
Before the widespread use of Hib vaccine, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in young children in Australia.
Hib can cause a number of serious infections, including:
Children or adults with meningitis or epiglottitis should receive urgent medical assessment.
In infants, symptoms of meningitis include:
In older children and adults, symptoms of meningitis include:
Symptoms of epiglottitis include:
Diagnosis is made by growing bacteria from the blood, CSF (cerebrospinal fluid: the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord) or other specimens.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
2 to 4 days.
(time during which an infected person can infect others)
As long as the bacteria are present in the nose and throat. Hib is not able to be spread after 1 to 2 days of appropriate antibiotic therapy.
A person with a serious Hib infection should be treated in hospital with antibiotics.
1 – In South Australia the law requires doctors and laboratories to report some infections or diseases to SA Health. These infections or diseases are commonly referred to as 'notifiable conditions'.