News / Health

Rotavirus Immunization Protects People Who Don't Get Vaccine

Vaccination leaves fewer people to pass around the infection

Protection of the rotavirus vaccine seems to extend beyond the children who receive it.
Protection of the rotavirus vaccine seems to extend beyond the children who receive it.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

Rotavirus causes severe diarrhea that kills more than a half-million people each year, mostly very young children. A recently-introduced vaccine has proved to be very effective and has shown some unexpected benefits, extending protection beyond the children who received the vaccinations.

Rotavirus fatalities are rare in the United States, but the disease does send tens of thousands of children to the hospital each year.

Nationwide vaccinations began in the U.S. in 2006, and now researchers are evaluating the results.

They already know that the vaccine is effective, with diarrhea-related hospitalizations down 50 percent just two years after the immunization program started. But researcher Ben A. Lopman, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the protection went far beyond the children who actually got vaccinated.

"The vaccine program also was providing indirect protection against hospitalizations in older children, and adults and in the elderly. [There] were fewer hospitalizations in 2008 - over 10,000 fewer hospitalizations in these older age groups - than in previous years."

This indirect protection - sometimes called herd immunity - occurs when there are fewer people to pass around an infection, as Lopman explains.

"The idea here is that by vaccinating young children, you stop them from transmitting infection to their older siblings, their parents, their grandparents, etc., because those children themselves are not becoming infected because they've been vaccinated."

There's another surprise here - that older children and adults were getting rotavirus infections in significant numbers. While the vaccine is only recommended for young children, Lopman says his study suggests that doctors should be aware that patients with rotavirus symptoms may be infected, regardless of age.    

Although this study was done in the United States, rotavirus is a much more serious problem in low- and middle-income countries, and the vaccine hasn’t been as effective in those areas. So Lopman says he can't say if his findings would apply there.

"The kinetics of rotavirus transmission are very different in low-income settings, where there seems to be just much more rotavirus around. So it's not clear at this stage whether these indirect benefits would be afforded in low-income settings or not."

In a commentary published with the research paper, a senior official of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Roger I. Glass, director of the NIH Fogarty International Center, says more research is needed to measure the effectiveness of a rotavirus vaccination program conducted where the disease is a much more serious threat. But the official writes that Lopman's study suggests the indirect protection benefit should be considered in assessing the value of a vaccination program.

The research study by Ben A. Lopman and colleagues is published online by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid