The Most Important Vaccine – HIB Protection
Many childhood infections have been defeated, but not all of them. Haemophilus influenzae type b still affects nearly 3 million children in the world annually, causing such severe purulent diseases as meningitis, pneumonia, sepsis, as well as some forms of otitis and arthritis. And about 386 thousand of these 3 million cases leads to death.
HIB infection is transmitted mainly airborne. That is, the carrier of this bacillus sneezed on the bus, subway, store, or kindergarten — and the likelihood of a child to get sick becomes real. Most often, children get sick aged from 6 months to 5 years. By 6 months, or even earlier, a mother stops protecting the infant. The body of children under 5 years old is still unable to build up an immune defense against a hemophilic infection.
Several features of HIB-infection
The first is that this infection can be present in the body and does not cause any disease. It is believed that from 5 to 15% of children and adults are carriers of this infection, the Hemophilus bacillus lives in their nasopharynx and can be transmitted to other people. The carriers themselves remain healthy. But if the child’s body weakens – get very tired, get sick with something else, that is, as soon as he has defenses, the infection penetrates deep into causing the disease.
The second feature is that the bacterium is the cause of not one, but several different diseases. The most severe of them – meningitis, inflammation of brain lining. In the USA, HIB infection accounts for about half of the purulent bacterial meningitis in children under 5 years old. According to epidemiologists and United Way Pharmacy staff, every year in the USA, from 300 to 1200 children between 6 months and 2 years of age, suffer from chronic bronchitis. And the most frequent HIB disease is pneumonia. Pneumonia caused by a hemophilic bacillus is recorded up to 10 thousand times a year. And the worst is at least 80 deaths a year from diseases caused by the hemophilic bacillus.
The third feature is that HIB infection triggered by bacteria needs to be treated as fast as possible as it becomes resistant to antibiotics. Bacteria adapt and become resistant to drugs faster than people discover new drugs from them.
The only way to protect. What to do?
The only way of this infection treatment is vaccination. This is the only effective way to combat hemophilic bacilli. If you take a map of the world and paint on it the countries where vaccination against HIB infection is included in the National Vaccination Calendar and is considered mandatory, the whole North and South America, Europe and Australia, and even half of Africa will be colored. Vaccination of all children is practiced in 133 countries around the world.
Vaccination is best to start at 3 months, the next dose should be administered in 4.5 months, 6.5 months. But, if you realized it later, do not worry: there are vaccination schemes for children older than 6 months and older than a year.
The injections are made in the thigh. If a baby is more than 2 years old the vaccination is injected in the upper part of the shoulder. You do not need to buy a vaccine at the pharmacy, there are certain storage conditions for it, which you may not know. It is better to use the vaccine of the medical institution where you will be vaccinated. By the way, the vaccine against HIB infection is least likely to cause any reactions.