(RxWiki News) Since 2013, when a nationwide rotavirus vaccine program began, doctor visits in the United Kingdom for acute gastroenteritis have fallen sharply, a new study found.
The authors of this study said the vaccine program may already be providing herd immunity from rotavirus infection because doctor visits for gastroenteritis appeared to fall even among those who weren't vaccinated.
Rotavirus is highly infectious and often affects children. It can cause gastroenteritis, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
The researchers behind the current study used data from primary care visits in the UK. They found acute gastroenteritis fell by 15 percent overall after the vaccine program was enacted. During peak rotavirus infection periods, that number fell by 41 percent.
This reduction in doctor visits also appeared to have a positive impact on health care spending and costs in the UK, these researchers noted.
Further research currently underway will directly compare the rates of acute gastroenteritis between vaccinated and unvaccinated children.
This study was published in the journal Vaccine.
The National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Immunisation at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine funded this research in partnership with Public Health England. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.