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What is Hib disease?

Page last updated 20 March 2020

Hib disease is a serious bacterial infection that can be life-threatening.

    While the Hib bacteria can live harmlessly in the throat of healthy people, if it does spread and move on to other parts of the body (i.e. lungs or bloodstream), it can cause some serious complications, such as:

    • meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord)
    • epiglottitis (inflammation of the flap and the top of the windpipe) 
    • pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
    • osteomyelitis (infection of the bones and joints)
    • cellulitis (infection under the skin, usually on the face).

    Sources & Citations

    1. Australian Government, Department of Health. Australian Immunisation Handbook. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Available at: (accessed 6 March 2020).
    2. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. HIB disease and the vaccine (shot) to prevent it. Available at: (accessed 6 March 2020).
    3. Better Health Channel. Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). Available at: (accessed 9 March 2020).

    SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0140(2)a - Date of preparation March 2020