Fairbury Student Does Not Have Influenza, Instead HIB

FAIRBURY –  Some misinformation led to an email sent out to parents of Fairbury Public Schools yesterday regarding influenza.   The child actually has Haemophilus Influenzae, also known as HIB.   Kate Lange, with Public Health Solutions says that HIB is rare and it’s usually prevented by children’s early vaccines.   Lange also said this infection has nothing to do with the flu and is not easily spread.

Dr. Blatny Jr. at Jefferson Community Health and Life says that while this particular case was not Influenza he reminds everyone that is important to get that flu shot before the season gets ramped up.

“Can’t be stressed enough.  Last year in particular was a horrible flu season. Influenza A hit right before Christmas big time and carried over to the spring and at some point transitioned to Influenza B.  It can kill people, and make them very ill and could require hospitalization, and it’s very preventable with the Influenza vaccine.”

The following press release was sent to NCN this afternoon with more information.

Confusion about Haemophilus influenzae Causes Concern for Jefferson County Residents In recent days, confusion about the differences between Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and seasonal influenza, has caused concern among Jefferson County residents. While both Hib and seasonal influenza may be spread from person to person by coughs and sneezes, Haemophilus influenzae is a bacterium, while
influenza is a virus.

Haemophilus influenzae is NOT a new strain of seasonal influenza.

The most common types of infection caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria are meningitis (infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord), epiglottitis (infection and swelling in the back of the throat), pneumonia, arthritis, and skin infections of the head, face, and neck. Prior to the development of effective vaccines, serious Hib infections were most common in children less than 12
months of age. Hib was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis and epiglottis in children less than 5 years old.

Risk factors for Hib disease include lack of vaccination against Hib, household crowding, child care attendance, immune system problems, and chronic diseases, like cancer or sickle cell anemia. The ability for Hib infections to spread from person to person in people over age 5 is limited due to immunity from past infections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), Hib vaccine has dramatically decreased the rate of Hib infections in the U.S. In the early 1980’s, before effective vaccines were developed, about 20,000 cases of Hib infection occurred each year. Since, then, the rate of Hib infection in the U.S. has decreased by more than 99%. Today, vaccination of infants at 2, 4, 6, and 12-15 months, provides the best protection against Hib infection.

If you have any questions or concerns about Hib infection, or if you would like more information on how Hib infection got its name, please contact public health nurse, Kate Lange, RN, BSN, at 402-826-6691. You may also contact your health care provider.

You can get more information on Influenza by visiting Public Health Solutions Website at phsneb.org


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