A study in four hospitals in Botswana found that over a two-year period following the introduction of rotavirus vaccine, hospitalizations from all causes of diarrhea fell by one-third in infants (0-11 months old), and by nearly one-quarter in all children under five years of age. Ninety percent of infants 4-11 months old in the study population received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 75% received both doses during this period. The vaccine’s impact was most apparent during the rotavirus season when the average number of hospitalizations from diarrhea fell 43% among infants and by one-third among all children under five.
In a recent review of data from developing countries, researchers found that episodes of diarrhea may predispose undernourished children to pneumonia.
Multiple studies show that
- Diarrhea and pneumonia impair children’s growth and that underlying malnutrition is a major risk factor for these conditions.
- “Episodes of diarrhea may predispose to pneumonia in undernourished children” and
- Immunization against influenza (in mothers) and Streptococcus pneumoniae may improve infant growth. In addition, new studies from Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, and Israel further support the paradigm that malnutrition is a key risk factor for diarrhea and pneumonia.