Rotavirus vaccine is proving its worth

Since vaccination became routine, U.S. children’s hospitalizations for intestinal woes have dropped

kids hospitalized for gastroenteritis and for rotavirus infection

GOING DOWN  The number of kids hospitalized for gastroenteritis and for rotavirus infection dropped sharply after routine vaccinations began in 2006. Widespread vaccinations blunted the seasonal peak of these cases typically seen in the winter and spring. 

E. Leshem et al/JAMA 2015

Rotavirus vaccination pays off — big time.

The United States began routinely vaccinating babies against the diarrhea-causing virus in 2006. Since then, the number of kids younger than 5 years old hospitalized for intestinal infections has plummeted. In 2012, the hospitalization rate for these children dropped to 45 percent of the prevaccine rate, researchers report in the June 9 JAMA.

As of 2013, about 73 percent of U.S. kids ages 19 to 35 months had received the recommended two- or three-dose rotavirus vaccine series.

Meghan Rosen is a staff writer who reports on the life sciences for Science News. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology with an emphasis in biotechnology from the University of California, Davis, and later graduated from the science communication program at UC Santa Cruz.

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