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October 9, 1996

Prevention of Systemic Infections, Especially Meningitis, Caused by Haemophilus influenzae Type b: Impact on Public Health and Implications for Other Polysaccharide-Based

Author Affiliations

From the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md (Drs Robbins and Schneerson); University of Rochester (NY) (Dr Anderson); and David Hamilton Smith Foundation, New York, NY (Dr Smith). Dr Anderson is now retired.

JAMA. 1996;276(14):1181-1185. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540140069031

The development of Haemophilus influenzae type b((Hib)gate vaccines has led to the virtual elimination of systemic infections caused by that pathogen, has provided insights into the pathogenesis of and immunity to other capsulated bacteria, and has contributed to the development of new vaccines. Meningitis, a common and serious infection of children, and other infections caused by Hib have been virtually eliminated in countries that have achieved widespread vaccination with Hib conjugates, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Scandinavia, France, and Germany. Hib conjugates have also been shown to be highly effective in developing countries. The principles derived from use of these vaccines, along with studies of other capsulated pathogens, should allow the rapid inclusion of new polysaccharide-based conjugates into routine vaccination schedules of infants, and should help to realize further reductions in serious systemic infectious diseases.

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