In May 1998 the Ministry of Health of Colombia started a universal vaccination campaign against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) for children under one year of age. The impact of this intervention on the incidence of acute bacterial meningitis was assessed in 1999, using data from the laboratory-based surveillance system coordinated since 1994 by the Microbiology Group of the Colombian National Institute of Health. The analysis compared the annual number of cases of Hib meningitis in children under one year of age diagnosed through the surveillance system before the vaccine was introduced with the number of cases reported during the first year after the vaccine's introduction. The expected number of cases, given the average annual number of cases diagnosed between June 1994 and June 1998, was compared with the number of cases observed after the vaccination program was introduced, from June 1998 through May 1999. To control for the quality of the surveillance system, a similar analysis was done for cases of meningitis due to Streptococcus pneumoniae. The analysis was restricted to those departments of Colombia that had consistently participated in the surveillance system. For the years 1994 through 1998 the numbers of confirmed cases of Hib meningitis were, respectively, 45, 37, 61, 64, and 31. In the period after the vaccine's introduction 31 cases were observed, as compared to the 52 expected (P < 0.001). During the same annual periods there were 32, 26, 43, 48, and 42 confirmed cases of meningitis from S. pneumoniae in children less than 5 years old, showing no significant reduction in the expected number of those cases. The 40% decrease noted in Hib meningitis cases was not attributable to changes in the surveillance system and was due mainly to the effects of the vaccination program.