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Pediatric rotavirus vaccine also benefits adults, study says

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 4, 2013

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Pediatric immunization against rotavirus might be more cost effective than previously thought, because it also indirectly protects unvaccinated adults from the highly contagious illness, said a study published online Jan. 24 in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Rotavirus causes severe diarrhea that often is accompanied by abdominal pain, fever and vomiting.

The prevalence of rotavirus among adults declined from 4.4% in 2006-07 to 2.2% in 2008-10, when immunization against the illness became widespread, the study said.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration licensed Merck’s RotaTeq for use in infants. A second rotavirus vaccine, GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix, was approved in 2008 for use among infants.

Researchers for the study examined 3,530 samples from adults 18 and older that were submitted for bacterial stool culture to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. All the samples were assessed for routine bacterial stool pathogens including Salmonella and Shigella.

Researchers compared the prevalence and genotypes of rotavirus in stool samples before and after widespread pediatric rotavirus vaccination (link).

Before the introduction of the vaccine in the U.S., rotavirus caused up to 70,000 hospitalizations a year and dozens of deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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