Rotavirus Vaccination Reduces Gastroenteritis Hospitalizations

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Rotavirus Vaccination Reduces Gastroenteritis Hospitalizations
Rotavirus Vaccination Reduces Gastroenteritis Hospitalizations

(HealthDay News) -- The widespread use of rotavirus vaccine has been very successful in the United States, according to a study published in the June 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A team led by Eyal Leshem, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, tracked data from 26 states. They found a steep decline between 2008 and 2012 for hospitalizations for gastroenteritis among children younger than 5 years of age.

Before rotavirus vaccination was implemented, 76 out of every 10,000 children under 5 was hospitalized for gastroenteritis from any cause, the researchers noted. However, after widespread vaccination began, that rate declined by 31 percent in 2008, by 33 percent in 2009, by 48 percent in 2010, and by 55 percent in 2012. There were similar rate declines among girls and boys, across all racial/ethnic groups, and in all age groups, the CDC team said. The largest decreases occurred among children ages 6 to 23 months.

Before rotavirus vaccination began, the rate of hospitalization gastroenteritis directly linked to rotavirus among children younger than 5 years was 16 cases per 10,000 children. However, after vaccination began, rates fell by 70 percent in 2008, 63 percent in 2009, 90 percent in 2010, and 94 percent in 2012. The authors say that individual infants are protected by the vaccine, of course, but "herd immunity" is probably playing a big role as well.

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