Haemophilus bacteria, of which there are several types, frequently occur in the oropharyngial area in healthy people; only children who are not strong fall ill. Generally infections in the oropharyngial area are not recognized as HiB. 90% of the cases occur in children who are five years old and younger. The age peak is between the sixth and seventh month of life. Swedish researchers were able to show that breast-feeding significantly reduces the risk of contracting Hib.( Silfverdal SA, Bodin L, Hugosson S, Garpenholt O, Werner B, Esbjorner E, Lindquist B, Olcen P. :Protective effect of breastfeeding on invasive Haemophilus influenzae infection: a case-control study in Swedish preschool children.Int J Epidemiol. 1997 Apr;26(2):443-50.)
As a result of the colonization of the oropharyngial area most children who have not been vaccinated between years 2 and 5 acquire a specific immunity (Impfen, Routine oder Individualisation, Arbeitsgruppe für differenzierte Impfungen2 Aufl. März 2000, S. 28)
The incubation period of Hib is approx. 2-5 days. Generally the disease is harmless, e.g. sore throat, and does not involve the brain. In severe cases the general condition becomes very bad, including fever, nausea and vomiting and meningeal symptoms such as dazedness, rigid neck, trembling and cramps. Sometimes there is epiglottis. This disease is life-threatening and requires a rapid therapy.
Only children who are already weak can contract Meningitis or Epiglottitis other children usually do not contract it. Meningitis frequently occurs in children who are between 6 months and 2 years of age.(Impfen, Routine oder Individualisation, Arbeitsgruppe für differenzierte Impfungen2 Aufl. März 2000, S. 29)
Meningitis and Epiglottitis is treated with antibiotics (cephalosporines).
In 10% of the diseased there are complications such as pneumonia and impairments of the central nervous system.
There seems to be immunity as Hib generally does not occur after 5 years of age.
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