Rotavirus vaccines show efficacy in study

Florida researchers have announced the results of an investigation into the effectiveness of two Rotavirus vaccines in a retrospective study that shows the vaccines may have resulted in fewer hospitalizations.

The two vaccines, RotaTeq and Rotarix, were approved in 2008, FirstCoastNews.com reports.

In a July 2010 issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunology at Wolfson Children's Hospital, analyzed the trend of Rotavirus infection rates among local children before and after the introduction of the vaccines.

Rathore told FirstCoastNews.com that 37,901 doses of Rotavirus vaccines were administered in 2008 and only nine hospitalizations were recorded. In 2009, when 42,220 doses of the vaccine were given, hospitalizations dropped to only seven.

“Rotavirus is worse in the winter, and in Northeast Florida, usually lasts from January through April,” Rathore told FirstCoastNews.com. “There didn't seem to be a Rotavirus season this year, which we attribute to the vaccine.”

Pediatrician Jerry Bridgham, MD, chief medical officer at Wolfson Children's Hospital, agreed.

“Prior to the use of these vaccines, pediatricians and parents had to wage an annual battle with Rotavirus,” Bridgham told FirstCoastNews.com. “Since their use, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of children requiring emergency room visits or hospitalization due to Rotavirus. The vaccines represent a real success story in the prevention of severe illness in children.”

Rotavirus is an infection that affects the bowels and is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children.