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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2019 May;38(5):539-541. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002281.

Rotavirus Vaccination Does Not Increase Type 1 Diabetes and May Decrease Celiac Disease in Children and Adolescents.

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From the Vaccine Research Center, Tampere University.
Department of Pediatrics, Tampere University Hospital.
Tampere Center for Child Health Research, Tampere University and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.



Rotavirus (RV) infection has been proposed to trigger type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1) and celiac disease (CD) by molecular mimicry in genetically susceptible children. If so, a live attenuated oral RV vaccine could also trigger these autoimmune diseases, or else, prevent the effect of wild-type RV infection.


In Rotavirus Efficacy and Safety Trial, conducted between 2001 and 2003, the participant children received RotaTeq (Kenilworth, NJ) vaccine or placebo in 1:1 ratio. The surveillance was extended as Finnish Extension Study. A questionnaire was sent in 2015 to the parents of 19,133 Finnish Extension Study participants and 5764 (30%) returned the questionnaire. Diagnosis of DM1, biopsy-proven CD and other autoimmune disease over the 11-14 year period were inquired.


At the time of questionnaire, the prevalence of DM1 was similar in both groups, 0.97% (25 of 2580 children) in the placebo group and 1.04% (33 of 3184 children) in the vaccine group (P = 0.810). The prevalence of CD was significantly higher in placebo recipients (1.11%; confidence interval: 0.78%-1.6%) than in vaccine recipients (0.60%; confidence interval: 0.38%-0.93%) (P = 0.027).


RV vaccination using RotaTeq did not alter the occurrence of DM1 but decreased the prevalence of CD in childhood and adolescence. We propose that wild-type RV may trigger CD and the triggering effect can be prevented or reduced by RV vaccination.

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