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The extent of non-capsulate, non-serotypable Haemophilus influenzae (NST) as a cause of serious invasive disease in children has not been fully defined. We describe the epidemiology of these childhood infections from cases identified during a continuing prospective survey of invasive H influenzae disease in the Oxford region, UK. 408 strains of H influenzae were isolated from cases of invasive disease. 383 (94%) were H influenzae type b (Hib), 24 (6%) were NST strains, and 1 was a type f strain. 3 of the NST strains were non-capsulate type b mutants (b-), but the remaining 21 strains were from the phylogenetically distinct and heterogeneous population of non-capsulate H influenzae (NC). 10 of the NC strains were isolated from neonates with sepsis; crude mortality rate was 40%, with an incidence of 4.6 cases per 100,000 livebirths. 11 NC strains were isolated from children after the neonatal period and under 10 years of age, 4 (36%) of which had severe, unrelated, predisposing conditions. The incidence of NC invasive diseases in these children was 0.5 per 100,000 per year. The attributable mortality for these infections was 10%. Infections due to these H influenzae strains are, after the implementation of Hib vaccines, likely to persist and represent a substantial proportion of the serious infections caused by this species.


Journal article



Publication Date





851 - 854


Blotting, Southern, Child, Child, Preschool, England, Haemophilus Infections, Haemophilus influenzae, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Prospective Studies, Serotyping