Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Babies who receive a vaccine against rotavirus, which causes severe diarrhea, may face a small risk of a dangerous intestinal blockage, a new study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found. More from NBC News:
But researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the risk is very small and vaccination is still worthwhile. Vaccination “is still very beneficial,” said Dr. Frank DeStefano, director of the CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, who worked on one of the two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Before vaccination was introduced in the U.S. in 2006, rotavirus sent about 200,000 children to the emergency room, put 55,000 to 70,000 in the hospital, and killed 20 to 60 children under 5 years old each year. Vaccination has made a dramatic difference, averting 65,000 hospitalizations from 2007 to 2009, according to CDC estimates.
Two rotavirus vaccines are licensed in the U.S., RotaTeq since 2006 and Rotarix since 2008. In 1999, another vaccine, RotaShield, was voluntarily withdrawn a year after it hit the market because of an association with intussusception, the “telescoping” of one segment of intestine inside another. The blockage that results can tear the intestines.
In a five-year study of Rotarix, DeStefano’s team found 5.3 extra cases of intussusception per 100,000 vaccinated infants. Less than one case would be expected per 100,000 unvaccinated infants.
In a seven-year study of RotaTeq, another group of researchers found 1.5 extra cases of intussusception per 100,000 vaccinated infants. Again, less than one case would be expected per 100,000 unvaccinated infants.
“I would call this a relatively small risk,” said Dr. Katherine Yih, a researcher at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, who led the RotaTeq research. “It’s about one-tenth the additional risk of the original vaccine that was recalled in 1999.”
Image: Baby receiving vaccine, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
Four germs have been identified by a new study as the causes of severe–and often fatal–diarrhea in infants and children worldwide, leading researchers to call for better dissemination of the vaccine against rotavirus, one of the four germs. The New York Times has more:
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Diarrhea is a major killer of children, with an estimated 800,000 deaths each year; it has many causes, and doctors want to focus on the most common ones to bring death rates down.
The study, financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and published by The Lancet, found that the most common causes were rotavirus; a protozoan called Cryptosporidium; and two bacteria, Shigella and a toxin-producing strain of E. coli. In some areas, other pathogens, including the bacteria that causes cholera, were also important.
The study followed more than 9,000 children with diarrhea seen at clinics in Bangladesh, Gambia, India, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique and Pakistan, and, for comparison, more than 13,000 children without the disease. The children with diarrhea were more likely to have stunted growth and eight times as likely to die during a two-month follow-up period.
Diarrhea seemed to be linked to chronic malnutrition, which causes gut inflammation that can make it harder to digest food.
The prominent role of Cryptosporidium came as a surprise to the authors; it had been best known as a killer of adults whose immune systems were suppressed by AIDS.
In an editorial accompanying the study, other experts said rotavirus vaccine could save many lives.
Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the rotavirus vaccine, which protects infants and young children against bacteria that causes severe diarrhea, significantly reduces the cost of providing health care for kids.
The CDC says that before vaccines were introduced in 2006, rotavirus was responsible for about 400,000 visits to doctor’s offices, 200,000 emergency room visits, 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations, and 20 to 60 deaths each year in children under 5 years old. By the 2008-2009 rotavirus “season” (January to June), the study found that vaccinated children had 44 to 58 percent fewer diarrhea-related hospitalizations and 37 to 48 percent fewer emergency room visits for diarrhea than unvaccinated children.
The CDC estimates health care savings of $278 million, directly attributable to the success of the vaccine.
“This study provides more evidence that vaccinating against rotavirus substantially reduces suffering and health care costs for this common childhood illness,” said Dr. Mark Pallansch, director of CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases, in a statement. “As more children get vaccinated against rotavirus, we expect to see even greater reductions in disease among all age groups.”
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