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Meningitis - H. influenzae

  • Alternative Names

    H. influenzae meningitis; H. flu meningitis


    Treatment with antibiotics should be started as soon as possible. Ceftriaxone is one of the most commonly used antibiotics.

    If the antibiotic is not working and the health care provider suspects antibiotic resistance, chloramphenicol with ampicillin may be used. Sometimes corticosteroids may be used, especially in children.

    Unvaccinated people who are in close contact with someone who has H. influenzae meningitis should be given antibiotics to prevent infection. Such people include:

    • Household members
    • Rommates in dormitories
    • Those who come into close contact with an infected person

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Early treatment improves the outcome. However, 3 - 5% of patients do not survive. Young children and adults over 50 have the highest risk of death.

    • Brain damage
    • Buildup of fluid between the skull and brain (subdural effusion)
    • Hearing loss
    • Hydrocephalus
    • Seizures

    Calling your health care provider

    Call the local emergency number (such as 911) or go to an emergency room if you suspect meningitis in a young child who has the following symptoms:

    • Feeding problems
    • High-pitched cry
    • Irritability
    • Persistent, unexplained fever

    Call the local emergency number if you develop any of the serious symptoms listed above. Meningitis can quickly become a life-threatening illness.