Increased use of the rotavirus vaccine is showing up with good results as fewer children are being hospitalized with diarrhea caused by the rotavirus, a new study is indicating. Infection with the rotavirus is usually associated with diarrhea, and many children are hospitalized yearly in the U.S. with this infection. The rotavirus infection is also the cause of deaths of between 20 and 60 children per year. The increased use of the vaccine has caused a change in the situation.
Lead author Dr Eval Leshem of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta told Reuters that : “We looked at the impact of the vaccine over four consecutive vaccine years. The dramatic decline we saw at the beginning has continued.”
The rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 1998 in the U.S. but was taken out of the system when concerns were raised that it might affect the bowels of babies.
A new vaccine became available and it was recommended in 2006 that all children receive the vaccination against the rotavirus. The vaccine comes in three does given orally when the child is two, four, and then six months of age. In 2008, a two-dose vaccine became available. The rotavirus and its effect on children is a worldwide issue.
Dr Evan Anderson, specialist in rotavirus studies at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, told Reuters that: “Worldwide, about 450,000 children died each year due to rotavirus before a vaccine was licensed. The virus is spread by contact with infected stool, usually by fecal-oral transmission and it is incredibly infectious. About 10 billion viral particles exist in a gram of stool and only about 100 are needed to cause infection.”
Dr Anderson was not involved in this new study where the researchers found, after a review of the information of 400,000 children from 37 states, that 64 percent of less than one year old children had been vaccinated in 2007, and in 2010, the vaccination figure increased to 78 percent.
“One of the interesting findings we had was in one the later years we saw a 94 percent decrease in hospitalization; rotavirus had practically disappeared in 2010,” Leshem said.