Rotravirus vaccine results in significant decline in hospitalizations

A study published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal has found a significant decline in children hospitalized for rotavirus in countries that have included rotavirus vaccines in their routine immunization programs.

The studies also showed that reductions in rotavirus have occurred in older, unvaccinated children as well, which suggests that vaccinations among babies might lead to herd immunity, Reuters reports.

The U.S. saw a reduction in rotavirus hospitalizations of between 58 percent to 86 percent since 2006, Agence France-Press reports. A larger decline was seen in Australia - 89 percent to 94 percent since 2007 - while El Salvador saw hospital visits in children under five drop by as much as 81 percent. After introducing the rotavirus vaccine in 2007, Mexico saw diarrhea-related hospitalizations drop by 40 percent in 2009.

"In both the developed and developing worlds, we see a rapid and impressive reduction in rotavirus infections following the roll-out of vaccine," John Wecker, director of the vaccine access and delivery global program at PATH, said, according to News Medical Net. Wecker said that these results were encouraging for the implementation of vaccination programs around the world.

A 2009 recommendation by the World Health Organization called for all countries to develop rotavirus vaccination programs.