HiB is a serious infection in children under the age of five. Even in the best case scenario, treatment requires hospitalization for more than a week with IV antibiotics. If meningitis is involved, repeated lumbar punctures (spinal taps) are required. If epiglottis is involved, the child might need to be intubated (have a breathing tube placed down his or her throat). Most children survive, but about 5 percent die, even with the best possible care. Between 20 and 40 percent of affected children suffer long-term consequences, such as hearing impairment or residual brain damage.
There is an antibiotic called Rifampin that is available if someone in your family is exposed to a confirmed case of HiB. Rifampin is given to the entire family to try to clear HiB from the nose and mouth. It is only needed for families with young children who are incompletely vaccinated against HiB.