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Rotavirus vaccination prevents hospital infection



By Christian Duffin

US researchers are urging the UK to consider the routine use of rotavirus vaccinations in children, after a study found it provides good protection that led to a ‘substantial decline’ in hospital-acquired rotavirus.

The researchers examined infection rates for community-acquired and hospital-acquired rotatvirus, at the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago for five winters between 2003 and 2008.

Within this period – in February 2006 – the first of two oral rotavirus vaccines was licensed in the United States, allowing before and after comparisons.

There was a 60% reduction in the median number of hospital-acquired rotavirus infections in the 2007-2008 season compared with the median of previous seasons. Previous analyses has already shown that the vaccination programme dramatically reduced the number of children hospitalised because of rotavirus from 2007 to 2008.

Study leader Dr Evan Anderson, assistant professor in medicine, infectious diseases and paediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg in Chicago, said: ‘These data provide strong supportive evidence for the impact of rotavirus vaccinations… thus, community based vaccination efforts should be encouraged as a strategy to decrease hospital-acquired rotavirus.’

Pediatrics 2011;127:e264-270