Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a major cause of serious childhood bacterial infections. Before 1989 Alaska Native infants in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) had the highest recorded Hib disease rate, 2960: 100 000 in children less than 1 year of age with 6 to 35 (mean, 13) cases/year between 1980 and 1988. In July, 1989, Alaska Area Nativa Health Service initiated a passive immunization project in the YKD using bacterial polysaccharide immunoglobulin (BPIG) administered at 3-month intervals to prevent Hib infections in infants less than 13 months of age. On January 1, 1991, after licensure of Hib conjugate vaccines for infants, the program was modified to a passive-active strategy using BPIG at birth and Pedvax HIB at 2, 4 and 12 months of age. Between July 1, 1989, and December 31, 1990, 80% of YKD children less than 1 year of age received at least 1 dose of BPIG. During this period there were 7 Hib cases in this age group, but only 1 of the cases had received any BPIG. Between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 1992, 4 Hib cases occurred in 2 YKD children. During the combined period, July 1, 1989, to December 31, 1992, the incidence of Hib disease for infants less than 1 year of age was 302:100 000. A dramatic decrease in Hib disease was observed in this high incidence region concurrent with implementation of passive and passive-active immunization strategies.
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