Hospitalizations for rotavirus down 86 percent in U.S. due to vaccine

The rotavirus vaccine, which was introduced in early 2006, reduced the U.S. rate of rotavirus-connected diarrhea requiring hospitalization in children under the age of two by 86 percent between July 2007 and June 2008, according to a recent study.

The analysis was conducted by a large U.S. private insurance database and compared the time period to rates between 2000 and 2006. The data demonstrated a 39 percent drop in the incidence of all diarrhea cases requiring hospitalization below the age of two in the same time period, the Philippine Star reports.

"The first rotavirus season post vaccine introduction showed a substantial decline, to a level below the lowest rate of prior years," an epidemic intelligence service officer in the division of viral diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, according to the Philippine Star. "The reduction was lower than in the clinical trials, where vaccine effectiveness was more than 95 percent, but it was still effective in the real world."

The data showed no unexpected reports of adverse effects from the vaccine and no connection with excess cases of intussusception, which is the side effect that took the first rotavirus vaccine, RotaShield, off the market. In 2006, a new formulation called RotaTeq was released. In 2011, a second vaccine called Rotatrix was released in the United States.

The data also found that the benefits seen in the 2007-2008 season carried into the following season between July 2008 and June 2009.