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Rotavirus vaccine could cut disease burden by 61%

By Nigel Praities

Vaccinating children against rotavirus could cut the burden of gastroenteritis by almost two-thirds and save the NHS money, claim UK researchers.

The researchers modelled the spread of rotavirus infection in England and Wales and the associated disease and found vaccinating children could provide both direct and indirect protection within the population.

They concluded that including rotavirus in the routine childhood immunisation programme would lead to a 61% drop in the overall burden from gastroenteritis caused by the virus in England and Wales - if coverage was similar to other vaccination programmes.

Study lead and research student at the London School of Tropical Medicine, Ms Christine Atchinson, said the modelling showed a clear rationale for the NHS to introduce routine rotavirus vaccination.

‘This dramatic fall in disease incidence would more than likely result in a fall in burden on healthcare services attributable to rotavirus gastroenteritis,' she said.

Vaccine 2010; published early online 1 March

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