Background: Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe acute gastroenteritis among young children, accounting for an estimated 527,000 deaths among children aged <5 years worldwide every year. To prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis (RGE), a pentavalent rotavirus vaccine (RV5), RotaTeq® (Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, New Jersey), was recommended for routine use among US infants in February 2006. Previous reports noted a decline of rotavirus activity during the 2007-08 season after RV5 introduction.
Objectives: In this study, rotavirus-related medical insurance claims were analyzed during the 2007-08 and the most recent 2008-09 seasons to confirm a continued pattern of decreased rotavirus-related health care utilization after RV5 introduction in the US.
Methods: RGE claims [IDC9-CM code 008.61] for hospitalizations, emergency room and outpatient visits for health plan members less than one year of age in the national Ingenix Normative Health Information Database were identified from January 2002 through June 2009. Longitudinal, seasonal rotavirus patterns in the period before and after RV5 introduction were determined by plotting the monthly count of all RGE claims.
Results: From January 1, 2002 through June 30, 2009, 3,363 members of the health plan less than one year of age had claims for RGE. The mean seasonal peak number of rotavirus claims in the database was substantially decreased in both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons since the widespread use of RV5 (276 vs. 75 claims per peak month), representing a 73% reduction of RGE medical claims from the previous six years.
Conclusions: This health insurance database analysis confirms a sustained decrease in the typical longitudinal, seasonal rotavirus pattern after the introduction of RV5 in the