Rotavirus Vaccination Combats Pediatric Gastroenteritis

HealthDay News — The widespread use of rotavirus vaccine has been very successful in the United States, according to a study published in the June 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A team led by Eyal Leshem, MD, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, tracked data from 26 states. They found a steep decline between 2008 and 2012 for hospitalizations for gastroenteritis among children younger than five years of age.

Before rotavirus vaccination was implemented, 76 out of every 10,000 children under 5 was hospitalized for gastroenteritis from any cause, the researchers noted. However, after widespread vaccination began, that rate declined by 31% in 2008, by 33% in 2009, by 48% in 2010, and by 55% in 2012. There were similar rate declines among girls and boys, across all racial/ethnic groups, and in all age groups, the CDC team said. The largest decreases occurred among children ages 6 to 23 months.

Before rotavirus vaccination began, the rate of hospitalization gastroenteritis directly linked to rotavirus among children younger than 5 years was 16 cases per 10,000 children. However, after vaccination began, rates fell by 70% in 2008, 63% in 2009, 90% in 2010, and 94% in 2012. The authors say that individual infants are protected by the vaccine, of course, but “herd immunity” is probably playing a big role as well.


  1. Leshem E et al. JAMA. 2015; doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5571.