Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size

    CDC Backs New Kids' Diarrhea Vaccine

    Vaccine Targets Rotavirus, a Leading Cause of Diarrhea in Babies and Kids
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Feb. 22, 2006 -- The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has voted to recommend a newly licensed vaccine to protect against rotavirus.

    Rotavirus is a viral infection that can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration (gastroenteritis) in infants and young children. While rotavirus isn't responsible for all cases of diarrhea, it's the No. 1 cause of kids' severe diarrhea.

    The new vaccine, RotaTeq, is the only vaccinevaccine approved in the U.S. for prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis. It was licensed by the FDA in early February.

    A previous rotavirus vaccine was withdrawn from the market in 1999 due to risk of intussusception, a rare cause of intestinal obstruction. The new vaccine hasn't shown a higher risk of intussusception in studies and will be closely monitored by the CDC and FDA.

    Vaccine Recommendations

    The ACIP recommends that infants receive three doses of the oral vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. Children should receive the first dose of the vaccine by 12 weeks of age and should receive all doses of the vaccine by 32 weeks of age.

    "There is insufficient data on safety and efficacy outside of these age ranges," states a CDC news release.

    The ACIP's recommendations become the CDC's recommendations once they are accepted by the CDC director and the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, and they are published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

    CDC's Comments

    In a news release, Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the CDC's National Immunization Program, commented on rotavirus and the new vaccine.

    "Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis in infants and young children worldwide," Schuchat says.

    "Nearly every child in the United States is infected with rotavirus by age 5 and most will develop gastroenteritis, leading to a large number of physician visits, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations, with a few deaths," she continues.

    "Therefore, this vaccine will help reduce one of our most common and potentially severe childhood illnesses."

    In the U.S., rotavirus annually causes:

    • More than 400,000 doctor visits
    • More than 200,000 emergency room visits
    • 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations
    • 20-60 deaths in children younger than 5 years, leading to about $300 million in direct medical costs and $900 million in total societal costs

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
    slideshow fetal development
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    What Causes Bipolar
    Woman trying on dress in store
    pregnant woman
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    calendar and baby buggy
    dark chocolate squares