This is a bacterial infection that is very common among infants and preschoolers. Most children encounter it at preschool and it can present in conjunctivitis, ear infections, sinusitis, bronchitis. Haemophilus can also cause a life threatening disease called epiglottis, in which the area at the top of the trachea becomes acutely swollen. It also used to be the major cause of meningitis in infants and toddlers. In the days before antibiotics, practically every child with bacteria meningitis died.
Since the vaccine was released in l985, meningitis rates in this age group have plummeted. The bacteria is still around, but the children have acquired immunity to it through the vaccine.
Case History of Haemophilus
A 2 year old girl in Albany Medical Center in 1982. She developed epiglottis and although her parents brought her to the hospital when she started having a severe croupy cough, they lived about an hour from the hospital. She survived but was severely brain damaged.