Rotavirus inoculations led to 65,000 fewer U.S. children hospitalizations

According to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the introduction of routine inoculations against rotavirus has led to 65,000 fewer child hospitalizations in the United States.
Since the 2006 introduction of the vaccination, the study also showed that approximately $278 million in healthcare costs have been saved, USA Today reports. Rotavirus is a common and easily transmitted pathogen that is a leading cause of diarrhea in infants and young children.
The CDC research team found that there were 89 percent fewer rotavirus-specific hospitalizations in children who had gotten the vaccine compared to unvaccinated children.
"Diarrhea causes by rotavirus is one of the most common illnesses in children," Dr. Umesh Parashar, a medical epidemiologist and the study's senior author, said, according to USA Today. "It's usually self-limited and treated at home, but before the vaccine was introduced, the virus was responsible for about 200,000 emergency room visits and 400,000 physician office visits a year."
The virus was associated with 20 to 60 deaths a year in children under five in the United States before the inoculations became routine. Globally, there are approximately half a million deaths caused by the pathogen, Parashar said.

The first rotavirus vaccine became available in 1998 but was withdrawn the following year when healthy babies began to develop a life-threatening bowel condition known as intussusception. Parashar said the current study didn't look at rates of the condition, but research in Australia and Latin America found that the incidence there was approximately one or two per 100,000 babies vaccinated, according to USA Today.
"The most important thing is that this vaccine decreases the risk of a child getting rotavirus, and possibly needing hospitalization because of dehydration. The benefits of this vaccine outweigh the risks," Dr. Marian Michaels of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pa., said, USA Today reports. "I think this is extraordinarily exciting, and we've already seen the reduction in the ER."