Monovalent rotavirus vaccine prevents larger number of deaths

The use of the new monovalent rotavirus vaccine is associated with a short-term risk of intussusception in vaccinated infants but prevents a much larger number of hospitalizations and deaths from diarrhea, according to a recent study.

The results of the study were published in the June 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Manish M. Patel, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues examined the association of RV1 with intussusceptions after infants were routinely immunized, HealthDay News reports.

Researchers observed 69 hospitals - 16 in Mexico and 53 in Brazil - and identified 615 infants with intussusceptions who were enrolled together with 2,050 age-matched infants as controls. A total of 96 annual extra cases of intussusceptions in Mexico and Brazil and five deaths from intussusceptions were ascribed to RV1. Approximately 80,000 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths from diarrhea each year were prevented by RV1 in Mexico and Brazil.

"The absolute number of deaths and hospitalizations averted because of vaccination far exceeded the number of intussusception cases that may have been associated with vaccination," the authors wrote, according to HealthDay News.

According to the National Institutes of Health, intussusception occurs when part of the intestine is pulled inward into itself, often found in children aged six months to two-years-old. Symptoms include colicky abdominal pain, bloody bowel movements, fever, vomiting and shock. Children are treated with a nasogastric tube or IV to give fluids and bowel instructions are removed with air or enema. Surgery may be required if other treatment methods are not effective.

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