Volume 38, Issue 1 (January 1993)
Invasive Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Disease
Invasive bacterial disease due to Haemophilus influenzae is a cause of sudden death in children. It must be considered by medical examiners when a child dies with a fulminant course and nonspecific symptoms. Three fatal cases are presented in children 7 weeks to 15 months of age. Two had meningitis and petechiae or purpura. All three had bilateral adrenal hemorrhage and a rapidly fatal course.
The potential for rapid and accurate diagnosis of H. influenzae infection is widely available due to latex agglutination technique against bacterial capsular wall antigens. Diagnosis is critical because of its public-health implications. Up to 50% of cases may be acquired in day-care settings. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for household and day care contacts. With the recent introduction of Haemophilus b conjugate vaccines for routine administration to infants beginning at 2 months of age, a change in the epidemiology of the disease is anticipated.