The rotovirus vaccine was pulled from the marketplace in 1999 after being associated with painful gastrointestinal complications, however, the updated rotavirus vaccines do not appear to increase the occurrence of these potentially fatal side effects, according to a new study by child health experts at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
The two updated versions of the vaccine,re-introduced in 2006 and 2008, prevent infection by rotavirus, which causes vomiting, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and frequently requires hospitalization for young infants and children. Rotavirus was once the leading cause of gastrointestinal illness among children in the U.S.
The new study, published in this week's Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, shows the re-introduction of the vaccine has not caused an increase in a severe bowel obstruction called intussusception, the side effect that led to the original vaccine's withdrawal.
"We always need to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of childhood vaccines. Fortunately, our results suggest that rotavirus vaccines have not increased the rate of intussusception in the U.S.," says pediatrician Joe Zickafoose, M.D., M.S., a research fellow with the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit.
Recent international studies have shown that, among vaccinated infants, the two latest rotavirus vaccines may be associated with a small increase in cases of intussusception.
However, the re-introduction of rotavirus vaccines in the United States did not appear to increase the rate of hospitalizations for intussusception.
More than 70 percent of infants in the U.S. have been vaccinated against rotavirus. The re-introduction of rotavirus vaccines is credited with reducing the number of diarrhea-related outpatient visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations among children.
Data used in the study came from the Healthcare Cost and Utlization Project's Kids' Inpatie
|Contact: Lauren McLeod|
University of Michigan Health System