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The effect of rotavirus vaccine on diarrhoea mortality

Int J Epidemiol. 2010 Apr;39 Suppl 1:i56-62.

Munos MKWalker CLBlack RE.

Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

BACKGROUND: Approximately 39% of the global diarrhoea deaths in children aged 5 years may be attributable to rotavirus infection. Two rotavirus vaccines were recently introduced to the market, with evidence of efficacy in theUSA, Europe andLatin America. We sought to estimate the effectiveness of these vaccines against rotavirus morbidity and mortality.

METHODS: We conducted a systematic review of published efficacy and effectiveness trials of rotavirus vaccines. Study descriptors and outcome measures were abstracted into standardized tables and the quality of each study was graded. We performed meta-analyses for any outcome with two or more data points, and used child health epidemiology reference group (CHERG) Rules for Evidence Review to estimate the effect of the vaccine on rotavirus mortality.

RESULTS: We identified six papers for abstraction, reporting results from four studies. No studies reported diarrhoea or rotavirus deaths, but all studies showed reductions in hospitalizations due to rotavirus or diarrhoea of any aetiology, severe and any rotavirus infections and diarrhoea episodes of any aetiology in children who received rotavirus vaccine compared with placebo. Effectiveness against very severe rotavirus infection best approximated effectiveness against the fraction of diarrhoea deaths attributable to rotavirus, and was estimated to be 74% (95% confidence interval: 35-90%).

CONCLUSIONS: Rotavirus vaccines are efficacious against rotavirus morbidity and mortality and have the potential to substantially reduce child mortality in low-income countries if implemented appropriately.

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