Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccine is not perceived as a public health priority in Africa because data on Hib disease burden and vaccine effectiveness are scarce. Hib immunization was introduced in Kenyan infants in 2001.Objective
To define invasive Hib disease incidence and Hib vaccine program effectiveness in Kenya.Design, Setting, and Patients
Culture-based surveillance for invasive Hib disease at Kilifi District Hospital from 2000 through 2005 was linked to demographic surveillance of 38 000 children younger than 5 years in Kilifi District, Kenya. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and Hib vaccination status were determined for children with Hib disease admitted 2002–2005.Interventions
Introduction of conjugate Hib vaccine within the routine childhood immunization program at ages 6, 10, and 14 weeks beginning November 2001.Main Outcome Measures
Incidence of culture-proven Hib invasive disease before and after vaccine introduction and vaccine program effectiveness.Results
Prior to vaccine introduction, the median age of children with Hib was 8 months; case fatality was 23%. Among children younger than 5 years, the annual incidence of invasive Hib disease 1 year before and 1 and 3 years after vaccine introduction was 66, 47, and 7.6 per 100 000, respectively. For children younger than 2 years, incidence was 119, 82, and 16 per 100 000, respectively. In 2004–2005, vaccine effectiveness was 88% (95% confidence interval, 73%–96%) among children younger than 5 years and 87% (95% confidence interval, 66%–96%) among children younger than 2 years. Of 53 children with Hib admitted during 2002–2005, 29 (55%) were age-ineligible to have received vaccine, 12 (23%) had not been vaccinated despite being eligible, and 12 (23%) had received 2 or more doses of vaccine (2 were HIV positive).Conclusions
In Kenya, introduction of Hib vaccine into the routine childhood immunization program reduced Hib disease incidence among children younger than 5 years to 12% of its baseline level. This impact was not observed until the third year after vaccine introduction.