The epidemiologic characteristics of invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b disease (HIBD) have markedly changed since the introduction of the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccine worldwide. The immunization schedule against Haemophilus influenzae type b differs in Europe.
This is a retrospective observational study which evaluates all the data included in the molecular surveillance register for invasive infectious diseases at the Laboratory of Molecular Diagnosis at Meyer Children’s University Hospital from December 2008 to December 2018 with a diagnosis of invasive HIBD in children <5 years of age.
We identified 4 cases of HIBD: all the cases presented signs or symptoms of invasive infection and the H. influenzae type b was identified in cerebrospinal fluid, or blood or bronchoalveolar lavage by molecular test. The crude incidence for Hib invasive disease in Tuscany is 0.26/100,000 p-y in children younger than 5 years, significantly different from the incidence rate before the introduction of the Hib vaccination. Vaccination effectiveness can be estimated at 97.9% and the impact of hexavalent (2p+1) vaccine at 99.6%.
This work confirms the high impact of the hexavalent vaccine 2p+1 schedule for HIBD in children <5 years, emphasizing the role of molecular test for HIBD diagnosis and surveillance.