January 22, 2019
1 min read

Rotavirus vaccination protects against type 1 diabetes in kids

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The number of new cases of type 1 diabetes among young Australian children declined after oral rotavirus vaccination was added to the routine immunization schedule for children aged 6 weeks and older, according to research published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Kristen P. Perrett, MBBS, FRACP, PhD, a team leader in population health at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and colleagues wrote that a link between rotavirus infection and type 1 diabetes has been observed in children, and mouse models have suggested that the virus triggers pancreatic apoptosis.

Australia introduced routine oral rotavirus vaccination in May 2007. Perrett and colleagues conducted an analysis of the incidence of newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes in children 8 years before the vaccine’s introduction and 8 years following its routine use.

The researchers wrote that at the time of the study, rotavirus vaccine coverage in Australia was estimated to be at 84% 8 years after the vaccine’s introduction.

Between 2000 and 2015, 16,159 new cases of type 1 diabetes were diagnosed in children aged 0 to 14 years — equating to mean rate of 12.7 (95% CI, 11-14.8) cases per 100,000 children.

Children aged 0 to 4 years experienced a 14% decrease in type 1 diabetes cases after routine rotavirus vaccination (rate ratio [RR] = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.74-0.99), but there was “no evidence of a of a change over time in the preintervention and postintervention patterns,” the researchers said.

Perrett and colleagues observed no changes in the number of incident cases or temporal differences during the study period in children aged 5 to 9 years and 10 to 14 years.

“[The decline in incidence of type 1 diabetes] occurred in the age cohort of children born after the introduction of rotavirus vaccine and is consistent with the hypothesis that oral rotavirus vaccine may be protective against the development of type 1 diabetes in early childhood,” Perrett and colleagues wrote. “Ongoing surveillance will determine if the decline in incidence persists as the children advance in age.” – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosures: Perrett reports that her institution has received research grants from DBV Technologies, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Novartis, Pfizer and Seqirus. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.