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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Infant Rotavirus Vaccination Decreases Rates of Type 1 Diabetes

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      After the debut of the new rotavirus vaccine in Australia, rates of type 1 diabetes in children four and younger dropped from 8.7 to 7.5 cases for every 100,000 kids.


    Celiac.com 01/30/2019 - Children who receive the rotavirus vaccine may be less likely to develop type 1 diabetes than children who remain unvaccinated, a recent Australian study suggests. Rotavirus can cause severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. In some cases, the virus can leave kids with dehydration that is serious enough to require a hospital visit. 

    There is some data to indicate that rotavirus infections can accelerate the development of type 1 diabetes, though researchers don’t yet know why.

    In May, 2007, health officials introduced a routine oral rotavirus vaccine for infants six weeks and older. In the most recent study, the research team compared rates of type 1 diabetes in the eight years before and the eight years after the vaccine was introduced.

    The data showed that cases of type 1 diabetes cases declined 14 percent among children age four and younger in the period after the vaccine. The same data showed no significant change in type 1 diabetes cases among older kids. The study wasn’t set up to prove that rotavirus causes type 1 diabetes or how vaccination might help minimize this risk.

    The findings are only preliminary, lead study author Dr. Kirsten Perrett of the University of Melbourne says that “rotavirus vaccination may be one of possibly many as yet unknown protective environmental and modifiable factors against the development of type 1 diabetes in early childhood.”

    Perrett stresses that diabetes “has not been clearly linked to other modifiable lifestyle factors and cannot be prevented.” Rotavirus can interfere with insulin production in the pancreas, which could promote type 1 diabetes, Perrett said.

    The study does add more data to support the idea that viral infections likely contribute to autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes and celiac disease in otherwise susceptible people, said Dr. Federico Martinon-Torres a researcher at Hospital Clínico Universitario de Santiago and Instituto de Investigacion Sanitaria de Santiago in Spain.

    All infants who do not have severely compromised immune systems or a history of bowel obstruction should receive the rotavirus vaccine, says Martinon-Torres.

    The good news about this study is that a vaccine that is routinely given to most infants seems to offer protection against type 1 diabetes.

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    Did you read the article? It talks about causing hospital visits, and even accelerating the very disease that it is supposed to be fighting. It does not even offer proof that the slight decrease in infection is even related to the vaccine. The study does state that the chance that your child would not have gotten diabetes is higher than the chance that he would have a worse case of it, and it even implies the opposite. Even though you are severely biased in this matter, it does not change the obvious conclusion that even you should reach. The vaccine should not be administered.

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    Further study is fine, but this article is advocating vaccines. It could have been called "rotavirus infections accelerates the development of type 1 diabetes", or simply, "Rotavirus Infections - Some Pros and Cons".

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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