UNAIR LPT researchers review the benefits of rotavirus vaccination to prevent diarrhea in infants

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – It is known that rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in infants and children are transmitted through contact with the stools of healthy patients or carriers. According to the latest data of World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 215,000 child deaths worldwide due to gastrointestinal infections by rotavirus in 2013.

It is also known that the rotavirus vaccine was officially compulsory in 2006 in several countries in the Americas. Two vaccines that have been licensed are RotaTeq® (Merck & Co., Inc., West Point, PA, USA) and Rotarix® (GSK Biologicals, Belgium).

In his research with researchers at Institute of Tropical Disease (ITD) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) on “Post-vaccinated asymptomatic rotavirus infections: A community profile study of children in Surabaya, Indonesia”, Prof. Maria Lucia Inge Lusida, dr. M. Kes., Ph.D explained that 30 babies and children in Surabaya received a complete rotavirus vaccine for one year.

“Registered baby and child feces are collected once a month. If babies/children have diarrhea, they are also asked to collect diarrhea samples, “she said.

From the analysis of all healthy baby stools collected, two babies were positive for rotavirus, while all the stools of babies with diarrhea conditions experienced by eight babies/children during the study period, the results were not found rotavirus.

“Positive sample for rotavirus examined using sequencing viral genetic material,” she explained.

Sequencing was carried out to determine the identity of the isolated genetic type of virus. The result shows that the identity of rotavirus found in healthy baby feces is the same as in babies/children who were previously hospitalized because of diarrhea during the same period.

Prof. Maria revealed the findings support previous research which states the rotavirus vaccine is effective in preventing diarrhea caused by rotavirus because infants with positive rotavirus feces did not experience diarrhea and remained healthy.

“Meanwhile, diarrhea experienced by the subject during the study period may be caused by infection or other causes due to negative rotavirus results,” he added.

Meanwhile, Prof. Maria also said the rotavirus vaccine is still classified as an (optional) immunization option in Indonesia, and it has not become a national immunization program. All infants with complete rotavirus vaccinations studied, no diarrhea containing rotavirus was available, so it is strongly recommended that rotavirus immunization in all infants should be one of the national programs in Indonesia.

Besides, healthy infants that are positive in rotavirus tests called “healthy carrier” which has the potential to transmit the virus to infants and other children. Therefore, equal distribution of rotavirus immunization is very important to achieve community immunity. (*)

Author: Asthesia Dhea Cantika

Editor: Nuri Hermawan



Emily Gunawana, Takako Utsumi, Rury M. Wahyuni, Zayyin Dinana, Subijanto M. Sudarmo, Ikuo Shoji Soetjipto, Maria I. Lusida. 2019. Post-vaccinated asymptomatic rotavirus infections: A community profile study of children in Surabaya, Indonesia. Journal of Infection and Public Health, Volume 12, Issue 5, Pages 625-629.

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