Hospitalizations for gastroenteritis were reduced significantly for children aged 5 years and younger from 2008 to 2012, following the introduction of routine rotavirus vaccination in the United States in 2006, according to a research letter published in JAMA.
“Previous studies have demonstrated the association of rotavirus vaccine introduction with reductions in health care use during the early postintroduction period or with limited insurance databases,” Eyal Leshem, MD, medical epidemiologist for the CDC’s division of viral diseases, and colleagues wrote. “Because laboratory testing and coding for rotavirus are not routinely performed for patients with diarrhea, we examined both all-cause acute gastroenteritis and rotavirus-coded hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years from 2000 through 2012.”
The researchers used data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, focusing their analysis on 26 states that consistently reported hospital discharges from 2000 through 2012. They examined more than 1.2 million all-cause hospitalizations for acute gastroenteritis among children of study age, and assigned nearly 200,000 with a rotavirus-specific code.
Rates of all-cause acute gastroenteritis declined from a mean rate of 76 per 10,000 children from 2000-2006 to 53 per 10,000 children in 2008, a 31% (95% CI, 30-31) reduction. The mean rate per 10,000 children decreased to 51 in 2009, 40 in 2010 and 2011, and 34 in 2012. The cumulative decrease from 2000-2006 to 2012 was 55% (95% CI, 54%-55%).
With regard to rotavirus-coded hospitalizations, the mean rate decreased from 16 per 10,000 from 2000-2006 to five in 2008, a decrease of 70% (95% CI, 69%-71%). The rate increased to six in 2009, but eventually decreased to a single incidence in 2012, a reduction of 94% (95% CI, 94%-95%) since the vaccine was introduced.
“With an increase in vaccine coverage, herd protection may have contributed to larger declines in rotavirus hospitalizations … ” Leshem and colleagues wrote. “The most recent reported coverage of 73% for a full rotavirus vaccine series is lower than that of other established childhood vaccines, so our findings support continued efforts to increase rotavirus vaccine coverage.”– by David Jwanier
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.