(HealthDay News) — Widespread vaccination against rotavirus cuts children’s rates of infection, according to a new study funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published online January 12 in Pediatrics.

In the study, researchers led by Leila Sahni, MPH, immunization action plan coordinator at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, tracked the use of the rotavirus vaccine among doctors treating children for acute gastroenteritis. The researchers looked at cases over two years at the emergency department of Texas Children’s Hospital.

Just over 80% of the children had been vaccinated against rotavirus. Pediatricans’ use of rotavirus vaccination was classified as high coverage (≥80% or more of their infant patients), medium coverage (40–79%) or low coverage (<40%). Low-coverage patients accounted for more than 31% of those seen for acute gastroenteritis, compared with 13% for medium-coverage doctors and just under 10% for high-coverage pediatricians. Overall, babies from low-coverage centers had triple the odds of contracting rotavirus compared to those from high-coverage centers.

“This shows that there is an association between not being vaccinated and getting the disease,” Sahni said in a hospital news release. Infants must receive the first dose of the oral rotavirus vaccines at their two-month visit.

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