Fall in the number of confirmed cases of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease

A Health Protection Agency study has shown a sharp fall in the number of confirmed cases of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease following the introduction of a Department of Health booster campaign, the Agency’s Board heard today.

The Board was told at its monthly meeting that experts from the Agency’s Specialist Reference Microbiology Division and Communicable Diseases Surveillance Centre had carried out the study.

Chief Executive Professor Pat Troop said: “The Hib campaign ran from May to September 2003 following a rise in the number of cases which was picked up by the Health Protection Agency’s surveillance systems.

“For the duration of the campaign, an extra dose of Hib vaccine was offered to all children born after 1 January 2000. The Agency then carried out a study comparing the number of cases of confirmed Hib disease for the first 17 weeks of 2004 to the number for the same period in 2003 in order to check the effectiveness of the campaign.

“The study showed an overall reduction of 43 per cent in the number of cases from 105 in 2003 to 59 in the same period in 2004. There was an 87 per cent reduction, from 46 in 2003 to 6 in 2004, in children aged one to four.”

Professor Troop also told the Board that the Agency is to receive a share of the €32 million euros funding from the European Commission for its work at its Porton site in the largest-ever collaborative tuberculosis initiative. The Agency’s role is to provide pre-clinical evaluation of proposed new vaccines as part of the drive to eradicate TB.

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