Cases of rotavirus infections fall by 84% thanks to vaccination

Figures published by Public Health England have shown that the number of diagnosed Rotavirus cases, a highly infectious virus which may cause vomiting and diarrhoea, have dropped by 84% since the introduction of a vaccine to the national childhood immunisation schedule in July 2013.

This is based on the comparison of the number of cases in 2015/2016 peak season versus the average number of cases in the same period between 2003/4 and 2012/13.

The vaccine, which is given to babies at the age of two and three months, protects against the virus that particularly affects babies and young children under five, causing an unpleasant bout of diarrhoea, sometimes with vomiting, stomach ache and fever.

Before the vaccination was introduced, around 14,000 children were admitted to hospital each year as a result of the virus because of complications such as extreme dehydration.

In further good news, it has been confirmed by the Department of Health that GSK’s rotavirusvaccine, Rotarix which was offered to babies for an initial period of three years, will continue to be offered as part of the national childhood immunisation programme.

Dr Ravi Pawa, Medical Affairs Manager for GSK UK Pharmaceuticals Vaccines said: “It is great to see that since the introduction of the rotavirus vaccination programme there has been a positive impact on reducing the number of cases of this infectious virus amongst young babies in the UK.

“We are delighted that GSK’s rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, will continue to be offered as part of the national childhood immunisation programme.”

Notes

Figures published by Public Health England in July 2016 highlight that since the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine in July 2013, cases in 2015/ 2016 fell by 84%. This is based on the comparison of the number of cases versus the average number of cases in the same period of the season between 2003/4 and 2012/13.

About Rotarix rotavirus vaccine live (oral)

Rotarix ® is an oral vaccine that is administered into the baby’s mouth.[2]  It is given in 2 doses approximately four weeks apart, at ages 2 months and 3 months, alongside other routine childhood vaccinations.

Commonly reported side effects for Rotarix ® include diarrhoea and irritability. Uncommon side effects include flatulence, abdominal pain and dermatitis. The vast majority of babies tolerate the vaccine very well. A small number develop restlessness, irritability or mild diarrhoea.

  1. PHE National norovirus and rotavirus Report.  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/535301/Norovirus_update_2016_weeks_22_25.pdf
  2. SPC https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/17840 Last accessed August 2016

Source: www.gsk.com

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