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A rotavirus vaccine has decreased the need for hospital admissions in children suffering with severe acute gastroenteritis, a U.S. study has concluded in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Rotavirus is a major cause of gastroenteritis in children. Previously in the U.S., rotavirus gastroenteritis accounted for 4 to 5% of hospitalisations in children and 50% of acute hospitalisations in winter. Vaccines against the virus have been given to children aged 6 to 24 months in the U.S. since 2006.
Researchers studied hospitalisation of children suffering diarrhoea or vomiting from 2006 to 2009, and indicated that in 2008, hospitalisation due to rotavirus had decreased around 87 to 96%. “Our data confirm that the introduction of rotavirus vaccination among U.S. children has dramatically decreased rotavirus hospitalisation rates. The reductions observed in 2008 far exceeded what was expected on the basis of vaccine coverage and effectiveness.” Said Daniel C. Payne of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and one of the authors of the study. “Continued surveillance is needed to further assess the role of rotavirus vaccination coverage, indirect protective benefits, immunity over time, and serotypic variation upon rotavirus activity in the United States,” Dr. Payne said.