Prevention of Haemophilus influenzae type b infections in high-risk infants treated with bacterial polysaccharide immune globulin

N Engl J Med. 1987 Oct 8;317(15):923-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198710083171503.


Apache Indian infants have a high frequency of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and pneumococcal infections. Forty percent of Hib infections in these infants occur before the age of six months, when active immunization may not be protective. To evaluate the efficacy of passive immunization with a human hyperimmune globulin (bacterial polysaccharide immune globulin [BPIG]) prepared from the plasma of immunized adult donors, we randomly assigned 703 infants in a double-blind fashion to receive 0.5 ml of BPIG per kilogram of body weight (n = 353) or 0.5 ml of saline (n = 350) intramuscularly at 2, 6, and 10 months of age. Hib-antibody levels were significantly higher in BPIG recipients than in placebo recipients at 4, 6, and 10 months of age (P less than 0.001). During the first 90 days after BPIG or placebo injection, no Hib or pneumococcal infections were detected in the BPIG group, whereas seven Hib infections (six cases of bacteremia and one of meningitis) and four pneumococcal infections (bacteremia) were detected in the placebo group (P = 0.007 and 0.06, respectively). During the fourth month, one case of Hib meningitis and two cases of pneumococcal bacteremia developed in the BPIG group, whereas there were no Hib or pneumococcal infections in the placebo group. We conclude that BPIG given at four-month intervals provided significant protection against serious Hib disease for three months, and that in high-risk infants it might be used alone, perhaps at three-month intervals, or together with active immunization.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Arizona
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Haemophilus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Haemophilus influenzae / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Immunization, Passive / methods*
  • Indians, North American*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Meningitis, Haemophilus / prevention & control
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia / prevention & control
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Risk
  • Sepsis / prevention & control
  • gamma-Globulins / administration & dosage


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial
  • gamma-Globulins