Skip to main content

Haemophilus Influenzae

Haemophilus influenzae disease is a name for any infection caused by bacteria called H. influenzae. 

H. influenzae, including Hib, disease occurs mostly in children younger than 5 years old and adults 65 years or older. American Indian people, Alaska Native people, and people with certain medical conditions are also at increased risk. Those medical conditions include:

  • Sickle cell disease
  • Asplenia (no spleen)
  • HIV infection
  • Antibody and complement deficiency syndromes (rare conditions that affect the body’s ability to fight infections)
  • Cancer requiring treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or bone marrow stem cell transplant

Haemophilus influenzae is a reportable disease in Oklahoma.

Vaccines can prevent Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease. However, the Hib vaccine does not prevent disease caused by the other types of H. influenzae.

H. influenzae can spread to people who have close or lengthy contact with a person with H. influenzae disease. In certain cases, close contacts of someone with H. influenzae disease should receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick. A doctor or local health department will make recommendations for who should receive preventive antibiotics.

People diagnosed with H. influenzae disease take antibiotics to treat the infection. Depending on how serious the infection is, people with H. influenzae disease may need care in a hospital. Other treatments may include:

  • Breathing support
  • Medication to treat low blood pressure
  • Wound care for parts of the body with damaged skin 

When H. influenzae cause milder infections, like bronchitis or ear infections, doctors may give antibiotics to prevent complications.