Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a major cause of mucosal infections such as otitis media, sinusitis, conjunctivitis, and exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In some regions, a strong causal relation links this pathogen with infections of the lower respiratory tract. In the past 20 years, a steady but constant increase has occurred in invasive NTHi worldwide, with perinatal infants, young children, and elderly people most at risk. Individuals with underlying comorbidities are most susceptible and infection is associated with high mortality. β-lactamase production is the predominant mechanism of resistance. However, the emergence and spread of β-lactamase-negative ampicillin-resistant strains in many regions of the world is of substantial concern, potentially necessitating changes to antibiotic treatment guidelines for community-acquired infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract and potentially increasing morbidity associated with invasive NTHi infections. Standardised surveillance protocols and typing methodologies to monitor this emerging pathogen should be implemented. International scientific organisations need to raise the profile of NTHi and to document the pathobiology of this microbe.
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