Alert: Meningitis outbreak kills baby in Minnesota, sickens five
Posted Jan 23 2009 4:32pm
Centers for Disease Control issued an alert today for an outbreak of bacterial
meningitis caused by HIB (Haemophilus Influenzae B) that killed a baby and
hospitalized four other children in Minnesota.
is a bacteria that attacks infants and young children more than older kids and
adults. Because the infection can be fatal, HIB vaccine was developed and used
for almost 20 years now as part of the routine immunization schedule.
of a vaccine supply shortage, HIB vaccine has been given preferentially to
infants and a booster dose for toddlers has been deferred until the vaccine
supply increases (anticipated to be in June 2009).
is reporting an outbreak of five cases of HIB--one child, whose parents chose
not to vaccinate, has died. Of the five cases, three of the children were not
immunized due to parental concern about vaccines and the desire to delay or
space out vaccinations. Minnesota hasn't seen this many cases of HIB since
current recommendation is that babies complete a primary series of vaccinations
for HIB. That means babies should get a dose of HIB vaccine at 2, 4, and 6
months of age. Even though the vaccine supply is limited, protection should be
adequate to cover the most vulnerable.
take-home message: for those parents who think they can skip vaccinations and
hope their community will protect their child against serious infection, think
again. Please remember these diseases are very real.
those of you with kids under a year of age, make sure your baby gets his first
three doses of HIB vaccine. For parents of kids with toddlers, watch for
updates this summer when the HIB booster should be available.