Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea and dehydration in young infants worldwide and it causes an estimated 453,000 infant deaths worldwide.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta analyzed hospital data concerning diarrhea illnesses before and after a rotavirus vaccine was first recommended in 2006. A second rotavirus vaccine was approved for use in the United States in 2008.
Before the rotavirus vaccine -- first introduced in 2006 -- rotavirus illness caused an estimated 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations and 20 to 60 deaths in U.S. children age 5 and younger.
The study, published online ahead of the July print issue of Pediatrics, found compared with the average rate of rotavirus-related hospitalizations in 2001 to 2006, treatment rates dropped by by 75 percent in 2007/2008, 60 percent in 2008/2009, 94 percent in 2009/2010 and 80 percent in 2010/2011.
Compared with unvaccinated children, in 2010/2011, the rate of rotavirus-coded hospitalizations decreased by 92 percent among the recipients of one type of vacccine and 96 percent among the other type of vaccine -- saving an estimated $924 million in rotavirus-related treatment.