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Study finds rotavirus vaccine greatly reduces hospitalizations for acute gastroenteritis in children
Date:5/13/2010

Vaccinating infants against rotavirus, a leading cause of severe diarrhea and dehydration among babies and young children, was associated with a dramatic decline in U.S. hospitalization rates for acute gastroenteritis. The findings appear in a study, now available online (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/652403), published in the June 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Worldwide, rotavirus infection is estimated to cause more than 500,000 deaths each year. Before a vaccine was introduced, the virus led to an estimated 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. annually. A vaccine, RotaTeq, was licensed for use in the U.S. and recommended for routine use in infants in 2006.

In this study, Aaron T. Curns, MPH, and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality examined hospitalization rates for acute gastroenteritis during the typical rotavirus season among U.S. children under 5 years of age. They compared these rates over two periods: from 2000 to 2006, before the rotavirus vaccine was introduced; and after, from 2007 to 2008.

Using hospital discharge data from 18 states accounting for almost 50 percent of the U.S. population, researchers compared the median hospitalization rate for gastroenteritis from all causes during the two time periods. Researchers considered the months January through June to be the rotavirus season.

Hospitalization rates for gastroenteritis were 16 percent lower in 2007 and 45 percent lower in 2008 compared with rates before the vaccine was introduced. During 2008, infants aged 0-2 months had a 28 percent reduction, while those 6-23 months of age had a 50 percent reduction. Rates among children aged 3-5 months and 24-59 months declined between 42 percent and 45 percent. The researchers estimated that approximately 55,000 acute gastroente
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Contact: John Heys
jheys@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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