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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2008 Sep;24(3):189-94.

[Impact of rotavirus vaccine introduction on hospital admissions for severe acute gastroenteritis at the Children's Hospital in Panama City].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Infectología, Hospital del Niño, Dorado Lakes, Calle F Casa 73 Modelo LakeSide, Ciudad de Panamá 0830-00036, Panamá.



To determine if infant rotavirus vaccination in Panama has reduced the rate of hospital admission for gastroenteritis among children under 5 years of age.


An observational, cross-sectional study of two time periods: 1 January-31 August 2005 (prior to initiating rotavirus vaccination) and 1 January-31 August 2007 (one year after introducing rotavirus vaccination). All the children from 2 months-5 years of age admitted with a diagnosis of acute gastroenteritis to the short-stay gastroenteritis area of the Children's Hospital in Panama City, Panama, were studied. The variables were: number of gastroenteritis episodes; number of cases admitted for severe acute gastroenteritis; number of days hospitalized; and antibiotics treatment for each of the two age groups (2 months-1 year and > 1-5 years). The relative risk (RR) was calculated with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI) and a significance level of P < or = 0.05.


There was a total of 1 240 episodes of severe acute gastroenteritis in 1 222 children. No significant differences were found between the two study periods regarding the number of complications (P = 0.92) and deaths (P = 1.00). Although there were more episodes of severe acute gastroenteritis after initiating vaccination against human rotavirus than there were in the period prior, the difference was not statistically significant (RR = 1.12; 95% CI: 087-1.44; P = 0.39). There were no significant differences found in the length of hospital stay by age groups studied in each time period. The percent of cases treated with antibiotics was similar in both study periods (29.7% versus 25.2%; P = 0.08).


The introduction of infant rotavirus vaccination was not found to lead to a significant reduction in hospital admission rates for gastroenteritis among children less than 5 years of age. Significant changes in morbidity and in antibiotics use were not found after the introduction of the vaccine.

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