February 16, 2009

Health officials urge Hib vaccinations

A rising number of U.S. parents not vaccinating their infants are placing children at risk for Hib infections, health officials say.

Although Hib infection, or Haemophilis influenzae type B, was thought to be wiped out through widespread vaccination, five cases of the infection, one of them fatal, were reported in Minnesota last year, USA Today said Monday.

Three of the infected children, including a 7-month-old who died, had not been immunized against Hib.

Some parents wonder if these diseases are a risk, said Anne Schuchat, head of the CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. With something like Hib, many people have never heard of it because we haven't seen it.

Schuchat said Hib is a killer disease, and we want parents to know it is very dangerous.

Patsy Stinchfield, director of immunology at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, told USA Today Hib concerns have been magnified by a reported shortage of immunizations in 2007.