Haemophilus influenzae – Infection, Transmission & Diseases

Haemophilus influenzae

The bacteria of the genus Haemophilus influenzae are rod-shaped pathogens that usually live on human mucous membranes and are transmitted by droplet infection . The Haemophilia genus includes 16 species, almost all of which can live without oxygen. The Haemophilus influenzae bacterium – a species of the genus Haemophilia – can cause serious illnesses, some of which are fatal if left untreated. Children should definitely be vaccinated against the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium.


What is Haemophilus influenzae?

The bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, which belongs to the genus Haemophilia, is a bacterium transmitted by droplet infection, which settles and multiplies primarily on the mucous membranes of humans, preferably in the ear, nose and throat area.

The Haemophilus influenzae bacterium causes numerous inflammatory diseasesDiseasestriggered, such as colds , bronchial infections and pneumonia . In particular atchildrenunder the age of 5, the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium causes severe meningitis , which is usually fatal or causes severe brain damage. To treat an infection with the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium, the doctor prescribes an antibiotic.

Meaning & Function

The Haemophilus influenzae bacterium can be transmitted by droplet infection. In the case of a droplet infection, the pathogens get into the upper respiratory tract of humans, for example through sneezing or coughing. In the area of ​​the upper respiratory tract, the bacterium usually multiplies very quickly, since the well-moistened and warm mucous membranes are the optimal living environment for the bacterium.

A person with a good immune system usually fights the bacterium themselves or the patient receives a mild antibiotic. However, bacterial infection is often preceded by viral infection . The immune system is weakened due to the viral infection and can no longer adequately defend itself against the bacterial infection with Haemophilus influenzae. In such a case, bronchitis usually occurs first , followed by pneumonia.

The body is then no longer able to fight off the bacterium without medical help. Taking an antibiotic is indicated. In children under the age of 5, the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium is considered to be the causative agent of meningitis . In most cases, meningitis is fatal within a few days if left untreated. Even if meningitis is survived, the brain usually has irreparable damage, the person is severely damaged physically and/or mentally.

Around 400,000 children worldwide die from meningitis caused by the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium. It is therefore recommended that children be vaccinated against the bacterium. After vaccination , the child is immune to the bacterium and can no longer contract meningitis caused by the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium. The vaccination is already carried out in infancy as part of a multiple vaccination (HIB vaccination).

Diseases & Ailments

Any infection with the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium is a potential hazard for humans, and infection can be fatal, especially for children under the age of 5. A viral disease and a bacterial infection are usually closely related in terms of time.

The patient first notices a harmless cold, which does not get better over time, but rather gets worse. Such a “delayed cold” is usually a bacterial infection that quickly leads to a serious illness in the body already weakened by the virus. The patient will usually develop bronchitis. If left untreated, it can result in pneumonia. Pneumonia is unlikely to go away without taking a special antibiotic; going to the doctor or to a hospital is urgently recommended now at the latest.

Infection with the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium is particularly devastating for children under the age of 5 years. In children this young, the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium usually causes meningitis. Within a very short time, the child suffers from massive headaches , very high fever , vomiting , dizziness and, in some cases, loss of health.

Only immediate intravenous administration of a high-dose antibiotic can then save the child from death. If one of the described course of the disease occurs in a child, an ambulance must be called immediately so that the child can receive medical help immediately. Children who survive meningitis usually suffer lifelong brain damage with permanent physical and mental disabilities.

Doctors recommend vaccination against the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium. The vaccination takes place in infancy as part of a U-examination as a multiple vaccination and is harmless. Some children have a mild fever for two to three days and reddening around the injection site. However, most children do not feel the effects of the vaccination and receive lifelong protection against the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium.


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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.