However, rotavirus itself is a risk factor for developing intussusception, according to information from the CDC, and to infectious disease specialist, Dr. Marian Michaels, from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Penn.
Michaels said that before the current, safer versions of the rotavirus vaccine came to market, studies including tens of thousands of children were done. "This was really something people took very seriously. They wanted to make sure that we first cause no harm," she said.
So, since 2006, two new versions of rotavirus vaccine have been introduced. The vaccine is given orally at two, four and six months of age, according to background information in the study. Parashar said the current study didn't look at rates of intussusception, but research in Latin America and Australia has found that the incidence there was approximately one or two per 100,000 babies vaccinated.
The study estimated that if this finding applied to the United States and all infants in the country were vaccinated, there would be an additional 50 cases of intussusception and additional health care costs of about $500,000, in contrast to the tens of thousands of hospitalizations prevented and millions of dollars saved by vaccinating against rotavirus.
"The most important thing is that this vaccine decreases the risk of a child getting rotavirus, and possibly needing hospitalization because of dehydration. The benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risks," said Michaels.
Parashar and his colleagues compared 2007-2009 data from U.S. insurance databases against similar data from 2001 through 2006, to assess trends in rotavirus hospitalizations, ER visits and physician-office visits over time.
By the end of 2008, 73
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