Widespread Rotavirus Vaccination Has Greatly Reduced Infections in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Harvey Kaufman MD
Quest Diagnostics
Madison, New Jersey

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Quest Diagnostics is the leading provider of diagnostic information services, meaning we provide information and insights from our laboratory test services. This includes analyzing results of our laboratory test data in order to provide insights into health, wellness and disease to help providers, patients and health plans make better healthcare decisions.

A Quest Diagnostics Health Trends™ study published in the Pediatrics evaluated 276,949 de-identified test results from children ages infant through 9 years over an 11-year period to determine trends in laboratory rotavirus detection and the impact of the rotavirus vaccine on rotavirus detection. Vaccination is recommended for infants. In the study, two patients groups were evaluated for rotavirus vaccine – likely vaccinated (children who were infants after vaccine availability) and unlikely vaccinated (children who were infants prior to vaccine availability).

From this analysis, the Quest Diagnostics researchers determined most importantly that the rotavirus vaccine is effective. The rate of positivity (test results positive for rotavirus antigens, an indicator of exposure to the virus) declined 73 percent during the 8 years after the rotavirus vaccine was introduced. As expected, the rotavirus vaccine has contributed to “herd immunity,” with rates of rotavirus declining in children who were unlikely to have been vaccinated as well as children who were likely to have been vaccinated. The length of time during which rotavirus, a largely seasonal disease, is active during the year is likely several weeks longer than CDC estimates. Additionally, the efficacy of the rotavirus vaccination may wane over time.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Widespread vaccination for rotavirus has significantly lowered the incidence of rotavirus in children in the United States – including those who were unlikely to have been vaccinated. The rotavirus vaccine is important because prior to the vaccine, almost all children in the United States had at least one rotavirus infection before their fifth birthday. Since then, these numbers have dropped dramatically. Pediatricians and parents must continue to be diligent in vaccination even though the risk of infection has diminished.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: This study also suggests there may be value in future studies regarding revaccination given that the vaccination’s efficacy appears to wane over time. The study was a population observational study. Further study is needed to track children who have been vaccinated to determine how long the vaccine remains protective. Potentially, booster vaccination may be recommended in the future if the risk of infection is significant in older children who lose the benefit of protection.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Trends in Laboratory Rotavirus Detection: 2003 to 2014 Pediatrics
September 2016
Harvey W. Kaufman, Zhen Chen

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on September 29, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD