Vaccinating infants against rotavirus can also prevent serious diseases in unvaccinated older children and adults, a new study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases says.
Rotavirus or rotavirus gastroenteritis causes severe diarrhea, fever and vomiting and can lead to severe dehydration especially in infants.
A vaccine was introduced in the United States in 2008 and the study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published online says the vaccination of infants helps reduce rotavirus-related hospital costs in older groups as well.
The research by Ben A. Lopman, Aaron T. Curns, Catherine Yen, and Umesh D. Parashar also shows that the rotavirus infection can be severe enough to require hospitalization in older children and adults as well, which was not previously known.
The scientists tracked hospitalizations since 2008 and found that unspecified gastroenteritis discharges decreased.
"In the 0–four, and five–14-year age groups, there were markedly fewer rotavirus-coded and cause-unspecified gastroenteritis discharges in 2008 compared with the prevaccine annual minimum," the study suggested.
The study also analyzed the reduction in cost associated with fewer cases.
"We estimate that 15 per cent of the total 66,000 averted hospitalizations and 20 per cent of the $204 million in averted direct medical costs attributable to the vaccination program were among unvaccinated five–24 year-olds."