A  Montcalm County, Michigan infant died late last week from complications of Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) Meningitis, according to the Mid-Michigan District Health Department.

Haemophilus influenzae bacteria/CDC
Haemophilus influenzae bacteria/CDC

The 14-month-old girl, identified by local news media as Audrey Rose Congdon of Howard City, became ill last Thursday, was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms, was released and died later the same evening.

Health officials are asking recent contacts of the child to see their doctor. The disease is only transmitted through very close contact with the child that involved contact with bodily fluids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Hib bacteria can cause invasive disease, including life-threatening infections such as: Meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord); Epiglottitis (swelling in the throat that makes it hard to breathe) and Pneumonia (infection in the lungs).

This can be prevented through the use of vaccines(The vaccination status of the child was not noted by health officials in their release).  All children younger than 5 years of age should be vaccinated with Hib vaccine.

There are two types of Hib vaccine for babies. With one vaccine, your child gets doses at 2, 4, and 6 months of age; with the other vaccine, your child gets doses at 2 and 4 months of age. With both vaccines, children need one booster shot at 12 through 15 months of age.

Before Hib vaccines, there were about 20,000 cases of invasive Hib disease each year in the United States. Today, with ongoing vaccination, there are fewer than 50 cases of invasive Hib disease each year.


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