Abstract

The oropharyngeal carriage of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was studied among 725 healthy 3-year-old children who had or had not been immunized with an Hib conjugate vaccine. Oropharyngeal swabs were collected during the childrens' well-child visit to their local child health center. Fourteen (3.5%) of the 398 unvaccinated children were oropharyngeal carriers of Hib, whereas none of the 327 children who had received Hib conjugate vaccine carried Hib (P < .001). Carriage rates of non-type b H. influenzae (19%) or Streptococcus pneumoniae (18%) were the same irrespective of the Hib vaccination status of the children. Thus Hib conjugate vaccine, unlike Hib polysaccharide vaccine, seems to be able to prevent oropharyngeal colonization by Hib.