Rotavirus disease and its prevention

Marc-Alain Widdowson, Joseph S Bresee, Jon R Gentsch, Roger I Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Rotavirus infection is the foremost cause of severe gastroenteritis of young children worldwide. Efforts to develop safe and effective vaccines resulted in licensure of the first live oral vaccine, tetravalent, rhesus-based rotavirus vaccine (RRV-TV), which was incorporated into the US immunization schedule in 1998. Less than 1 year later, however, the vaccine was withdrawn when reports of cases of intussusception were linked to recent vaccination. This setback created significant hurdles as well as new opportunities for the development of the next generation of rotavirus vaccines. This review focuses on new information related to the clinical presentation and pathogenesis of rotavirus infection, the associated global disease burden, and the ongoing efforts to develop and introduce the next generation of rotavirus vaccines for widespread use.

RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies have confirmed that rotavirus infection is not confined only to the gut but can have extraintestinal manifestations, including viremia. Estimates of the global disease burden of rotavirus diarrhea have been refined and suggest that mortality has not declined, and that among hospitalized cases of diarrhea, the fraction associated with rotavirus has increased in many countries. In the United States, the estimated number of hospitalizations attributed to rotavirus has increased. Debate continues about the magnitude of the attributable risk of the association between RRV-TV and intussusception. Several new rotavirus vaccines are in late stages of development. One vaccine was licensed in Mexico in 2004 and a second has completed clinical trials in the United States and Europe and may be licensed within 2 to 3 years.

SUMMARY: The tremendous burden of rotavirus diarrhea among children all over the world continues to drive the remarkable pace of vaccine development and the variety of approaches to creating rotavirus vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Gastroenterology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Child
  • Cost of Illness
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intussusception/chemically induced
  • Rotavirus
  • Rotavirus Infections/etiology
  • Rotavirus Vaccines/adverse effects


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