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Decrease of Rotavirus Gastroenteritis to a Low Level Without Resurgence for Five Years After Universal RotaTeq Vaccination in Finland

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Universal rotavirus (RV) vaccination with RotaTeq was introduced into National Immunization Programme (NIP) of Finland in September 2009. We have previously reported the reduction of RV gastroenteritis (GE) cases in the first 2 years after RV vaccination in NIP in Finland.


In Tampere University Hospital, a 2-year survey of acute GE (AGE) in children was conducted before NIP in the years 2006 to 2008. This was followed by a similar prospective survey in years 2009 to 2011 and now extended to years 2012 to 2014. Stool samples from children examined in the hospital for AGE were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction assays for RV and norovirus, and positive samples were typed by sequencing.


The proportion of RVGE of all AGE cases decreased from 52% (421 of 809 cases) in pre-NIP years to 26% (86 of 330 cases) in post-NIP years 2009 to 2011 falling to 12% (40 of 347 cases) in 2012 and 2014. The hospitalizations for RVGE were reduced by 90% and the outpatient clinic visits also by 90% in 2012 to 2014, compared with pre-NIP year; all AGE cases were reduced by 59%. Norovirus was a major causative agent of AGE in the post-NIP period, accounting for 34% of the cases in 2009 to 2011 and 29% in 2012 to 2014.


RV vaccination in NIP has led to a major reduction of RVGE cases seen in hospital with no resurgence in 5 years after NIP. A high coverage of RV vaccination will maintain RV activity at a low level but not eliminate wild-type RV circulation.
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Keywords: RotaTeq; Rotavirus; gastroenteritis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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