Minnesota reports rise in children's infectious disease

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: January 23, 2009 - 12:28 PM

State health officials today, citing a surge in the illness known as HiB, advised parents to make sure their children are fully vaccinated.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota health officials on Friday reported a surge in the children's infectious disease known as HiB, and said parents should check with their doctors to make sure their children are fully vaccinated.

Five children were diagnosed with HiB in Minnesota in 2008, the most since 1992, the state Health Department said. One child died. Officials blamed a national shortage of the vaccine that led some national advisory groups to recommend skipping a fourth and final booster shot so supplies would last longer.

HiB is Haemophilus influenza type B. It can lead to severe illness, including meningitis and death.

The officials said the problem seemed to be worse in Minnesota because most of the state's doctors traditionally use the vaccine produced by Merck, which they said was the one in shortest supply.

Besides deferred booster shots, the health officials said fewer infants were getting the third dose of a recommended primary series of shots than in the past.

They said they were working with the Centers for Disease Control and Sanofi-Pasteur, a vaccine maker, and expected to receive an additional 37,000 doses over the next few months.

Three of the five Minnesota children who had HiB in 2008 had not been immunized.

Health officials said Minnesota rarely had more than one or two HiB cases per year after a vaccine was developed, and often none.

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On the Net:

Minnesota Health Department, Hib information: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/hib/index.html.

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