Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus and spreads easily among infants and young children. It can cause severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. Rotavirus can further cause death of infants and young children. Infants getting vaccinated against rotavirus in the first months of life can prevent them from various diseases including Type 1 diabetes.
Yes, you read it right. A large new study confirms previous research suggesting that the vaccine may have an added benefit i.e. lowering the risk for Type 1 diabetes.
A team of researchers analyzed private insurance data, covering 2001 to 2017, for close to 1.5 million US children who were infants at the time of enrollment. Among children fully vaccinated against rotavirus, there was a 41 per cent reduction in the incidence of type 1 diabetes compared with unvaccinated children, the team reports online June 13 in Scientific Reports.
According to findings of the study, in fully vaccinated children, the incidence of type 1 diabetes was 12.2 cases per 100,000 people per year. On the other hand, in the unvaccinated group, the incidence of type 1 diabetes was 20.6 per 100,000. Interestingly, there wasn’t a benefit for partially vaccinated kids either, those who did not complete the full number of doses.
It is worth mentioning here that in the United States, nearly 1.25 million people have type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks insulin-secreting beta cells.
Interestingly, the new work was inspired by a study of Australian children, published in JAMA Pediatrics in January, which reported a decline in the incidence of type 1 diabetes after the start of routine rotavirus vaccination.
“The research suggests rotavirus vaccination may be a tool to help prevent type 1 diabetes, though more work is needed,” said epidemiologist Mary Rogers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Type 1 diabetes has no cure so preventing even a proportion of cases could transform lives,” she added.