Haemophilus influenzae Meningitis and Pneumonia

Organism Haemophilus influenzae, commonly serotype b (Hib).

Clinical features Fever, vomiting, stiff neck and rigid back in older children, bulging fontanelle in infants. A common cause of secondary infection in measles and other respiratory infections, resulting in pneumonia (see Section 13.2). H. influenzae can also cause epiglottitis, cellulitis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, empyema and pericarditis.

Diagnosis The CSF is often purulent, but this can occur in other causes of meningitis; hence culture of CSF or blood should be made. Serological tests are also of value.

Transmission Airborne transmission of droplets and direct contact with nasal-pharyngeal secretions. The organism is carried asymptomatically in the nose of carriers who are often the source of infection to infants.

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