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Efficacy of Rotavirus Vaccination on Diarrhoea Outcomes among Children under 5 Years of age

Posted:  Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Benefits of Rotavirus Vaccination on Diarrhoea Outcomes among Children below 5 Years of age

Rotavirus is a common cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended rotavirus vaccination for infants to prevent severe infections. A new study published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal investigated the efficacy and effectiveness of rotavirus vaccination on diarrhoea outcomes among children aged less than 5 years.

A systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies on the outcomes related to diarrhoea due to rotavirus or unspecified aetiology was carried out. Region-specific studies on the effect of the vaccine on the diarrheal outcomes in children less than 5 years of age were included in the study. Forty-eight studies were selected, out of which 22 studies reported the efficacy and 19 studies reported the effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine.

In developed countries, the rotavirus vaccine was effective in preventing diarrhoea caused by rotavirus. It was also effective in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian countries. The introduction of rotavirus vaccination successfully prevented 90.6% of severe diarrhoea cases in developed countries, 88.4% cases in Southeast Asian countries, 79.6% cases in Latin America and the Caribbean, 50% cases in South Asia, and 46.1% cases in sub-Saharan Africa. Rotavirus vaccination led to a 94.3% decrease in rotavirus hospitalisation in developed countries and a 57.5% decrease in rotavirus hospitalisation in sub-Saharan Africa. Rotavirus vaccination led to a 41.2% decrease in rotavirus mortality rates in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This systematic review lacked region-specific studies on the effectiveness of rotavirus vaccine against severe rotavirus diarrhoea in hospitalised children. Only a few studies representing the regions of southeast and South Asia were included.

The results of the study demonstrated that the rotavirus vaccine was highly effective for the prevention of diarrhoea and severe diarrhoea among children less than 5 years of age. The benefits of rotavirus vaccine could have a significant impact on the disease burden of rotavirus infection in low-income countries that have not yet included this vaccine in their immunisation program. Further research to investigate the protective effect of rotavirus vaccine in children from sub-Saharan Africa and Asia is needed.

News source - Lamberti LM, Ashraf S, Walker CL, Black RE. A Systematic Review of the Effect of Rotavirus Vaccination on Diarrhoea Outcomes among Children Younger Than 5 Years. The Pediatric infectious disease journal. 2016 May.