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Pediatrics. 2016 Oct;138(4). pii: e20161173.

Trends in Laboratory Rotavirus Detection: 2003 to 2014.

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Quest Diagnostics, Madison, New Jersey
Quest Diagnostics, Madison, New Jersey.



We assessed the impact of rotavirus vaccination at national and state levels by evaluating the change in rotavirus antigen detection after vaccination licensure. We examined herd immunity in an unlikely vaccinated cohort and waning immunity with aging in a likely vaccinated cohort. We proposed a new approach to estimate the length of season by contrasting with what is recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


We analyzed 11-year results of rotavirus testing (n = 276 342) conducted at Quest Diagnostics, a national clinical reference laboratory, spanning from September 2003 to August 2014. An enzyme immunoassay was used to test children's stool specimens for the presence of rotavirus antigen; results were reported as not detected or detected.


Nationally, there was a significant reduction in the number of positive results (82.4%) and positivity rate (73.3%) after vaccination availability. The reductions were seen in all major states, although with geographic variability. The declining positivity rate in unlikely vaccinated children suggests herd immunity. Among those who were likely vaccinated, the positivity rate was higher in older children, indicating potential waning immunity with aging. Seasonal outbreaks continued in the postvaccine period, with peaks in alternating years. Seasons were longer in the postvaccine period than the prevaccine period.


Our findings show a marked reduction in rotavirus detection throughout the nation after vaccine licensure, consistent with herd immunity. Postvaccine effectiveness may wane with aging. Seasons appear to be longer in the postvaccine period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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