-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Updated vaccines for
rotavirus -- once the leading cause of gastrointestinal illness
among U.S. children -- do not appear to increase the risk of
potentially deadly side effects, a new study finds.
The original rotavirus vaccine was taken off the market in 1999
after it was associated with severe bowel obstruction called
The two updated versions of the vaccine were reintroduced in
2006 and 2008, and more than 70 percent of infants in the United
States have been vaccinated against rotavirus, which causes
abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and vomiting.
Hospitalization is required for many infants and young children
infected with rotavirus.
In this study, a team at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott
Children's Hospital examined national data in order to compare
intussusception rates among children younger than age 1 before and
after vaccine reintroduction.
The investigators expected to find 36 intussusception-related
hospitalizations per 100,000 children in 2009, but found that the
rate was only 33.3 cases per 100,000. This suggests that it's very
unlikely that the reintroduced vaccines led to any additional cases
of intussusception, the researchers said.
The study was published online Jan. 2 in the journal
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
"We always need to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of childhood vaccines. Fortunately, our results suggest that rotavirus vaccines have not increased the rate of intussusception in the U.S.," lead author Dr. Joseph Zickafoose, a pediatrician and research fellow with the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit, said in a University of Michigan news release.
"We hope that our study provides information that will continue to reassure parents that the benefits of rotavirus vaccine outweigh the risks," he added.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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