Rotavirus Vaccination May Decrease the Incidence of Type 1 Diabetes in Children

Introduction of the oral rotovirus vaccine in Australia was associated with a decline in the incidence of type 1 diabetes.

Introduction of the oral rotavirus vaccine is associated with a decline in the incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D), according to findings from a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Infection with rotavirus has been associated with the development of T1D in children, and researchers hypothesized that if rotavirus infection plays a role in T1D, then vaccination could potentially decrease T1D incidence over time. In this study, they used publically available data to evaluate the incidence of T1D in a cohort of Australian children in the 8 years before the introduction of routine rotavirus vaccination and compared it with the 8-year period after its introduction. National coverage during this time period was estimated to be 84%.

Between 2000 and 2015, a total of 16,159 cases of T1D were diagnosed in 66,055,000 person-years in children age 0 to 14 years, equaling a mean rate of 12.7 (95% CI, 11.0-14.8) cases/100,000 children. In the cohort age 0 to 4 years, incident cases of T1D declined by 14% (rate ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.74-0.99; P =.04) after implementation of the oral rotavirus vaccine in 2007. However, the researchers reported no change over time in pre- and postintervention patterns. In both the 5 to 9 years and 10 to 14 years age cohorts, no changes were observed in the number of incident cases or temporal differences during the entire 16-year period.

“We report what is to our knowledge the first evidence of a decline in the incidence T1D after the introduction of oral [rotavirus] vaccine into a routine immunization schedule,” concluded the researchers.

“These findings have prompted our team to do a case-control linkage study to further explore the association between [rotavirus] vaccination and T1D incidence in Australian children.”

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Perrett KP, Jachno K, Nolan TM, Harrison LC. Association of rotavirus vaccination with the incidence of type 1 diabetes in children [published online January 22, 2019]. JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.4578