ABSTRACT: Before the introduction of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccines, rates of invasive H. influenzae disease among indigenous people of the North American Arctic were among the highest in the world. Routine vaccination reduced rates to low levels; however, serotype replacement with non-type b strains may result in a reemergence of invasive disease in children. We reviewed population-based data on invasive H. influenzae in Alaska and northern Canada from 2000-2005; 138 cases were reported. Among 88 typeable isolates, 42 (48%) were H. influenzae type a (Hia); 35 (83%) occurred in indigenous peoples. Among Hia patients, median age was 1.1 years; 62% were male; 1 adult died. Common clinical manifestations included meningitis, pneumonia, and septic arthritis. Overall annual incidence was 0.9 cases per 100,000 population. Incidence among indigenous children <2 years of age in Alaska and northern Canada was 21 and 102, respectively. Serotype a is now the most common H. influenzae serotype in the North American Arctic; the highest rates are among indigenous children.
Emerging infectious diseases 01/2008; 14(1):48-55. · 6.17 Impact Factor