Diarrhea-associated healthcare utilization and treatment costs for US children <5 years of age
Diarrhea-associated healthcare utilization and treatment costs for US children <5 years of age have decreased dramatically since the routine use of pentavalent rotavirus vaccine (RV5) began in 2006, according to results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, September 22, 2011.
In the study, researchers assessed the extent of RV5 use in children <5 years of age and correlated its use to changes in diarrhea-associated healthcare utilization between July 2001-June 2006 (pre-vaccine licensure) and July 2007-June 2009 (post-licensure).
In a cohort of approximately 300,000 eligible children from 37 states obtained from the MarketScan database, researchers found 32% of children (73% of those <1 year of age, 64% of 1-year-olds, and 8% among 2-to-4-year-olds) had received at least 1 dose of RV5 by the end of 2008, with usage steadily rising over time.
Reflecting upon their results, the researchers noted, "Our findings confirm other reports of a decline in rotavirus activity in the United States after the introduction of rotavirus vaccine."
They continued, "The observed 89% reduction in the most specific outcome, rotavirus-coded hospitalizations, in vaccinated children as compared with unvaccinated children is consistent with the efficacy of the vaccine in pre-licensure trials."
Prior research suggests that the total medical treatment cost of rotavirus diarrhea was about $300 million per year prior to the introduction of RV5 in 2006. Based upon the reductions in hospitalizations observed in this current study (estimated avoidance of nearly 65,000 rotavirus hospitalizations), the researchers estimated a savings of $278 million in hospitalization costs over the 2-year study period due to the increase in RV5 use.
Cortes JE, Curns AT, Tate JE, et al. Rotavirus vaccine and health care utilization for diarrhea in U.S. children. N Engl J Med. 2011; 365:1108–1117.