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Vaccine for Childhood Diarrhea Helps Kids, Saves Dollars
Date:9/22/2011

percent of children had gotten at least one dose of rotavirus vaccine, 64 percent of children between one and two years of age had at least the initial dose of the vaccine, and 8 percent of children between two and four years old had at least one dose. Parashar said the vaccine needs to be given before children are eight months old.

The researchers found that hospitalization rates for diarrhea went down as much as 33 percent after introduction of the vaccine. For rotavirus-specific hospitalizations, the rate went down as much as 75 percent, according to the study.

When the researchers compared vaccinated and unvaccinated children, they found the rate of rotavirus-specific hospitalizations were 89 percent less for vaccinated children. The number of ER visits were about 48 percent lower for vaccinated children, and physician office visits were around 12 percent lower for children who received the vaccine.

"Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrheal illness. The vaccine can prevent and reduce the disease burden substantially," said Parashar.

"This vaccine decreases the risk of a child getting rotavirus and needing hospitalization. I think this is extraordinarily exciting, and we've already seen the reduction in the ER," said Michaels.

More information

Learn more about the rotavirus vaccine from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Umesh Parashar, M.B., B.S., M.P.H., medical epidemiologist and team leader, viral gastroenteritis team, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.; Marian Michaels, M.D., pediatric infectious disease specialist, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Penn.; Sept. 22, 2011 New England Journal of Medicine


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