Rotavirus Vaccine Cuts Diabetes Risk in Babies, Study Shows

The jury may still be out as to whether or not vaccines cause conditions like autism, both the scientific and medical communities continue to defend their benefits.  And a recent study may help provide a little more support about the beneficial nature of vaccines, particularly when it comes to diabetes. 

A new study has determined that a vaccine that prevents newborns from contracting a deadly stomach infection appears to also significantly reduce risk for developing diabetes.  Essentially, the study indicates that babies who receive a full course of rotavirus vaccine—in the form of prophylactic drops—within the first few months of life could be one-third less likely to develop type 1 diabetes when compared against children who had not received a vaccine. 

First of all, it should be noted that the study definitely solidifies the existing evidence that vaccines are effective at preventing their respective diseases. In this case, the study found children who received the rotavirus vaccine were 94 percent less likely to be hospitalized from complications of the condition. They were also found to be 31 percent less likely to be hospitalized for any other reason within the first two years of life. 

Now, rotavirus can activate at any age but, of course, has a more pronounced effect on our youngest citizens.  Infection can result in diarrhea and vomiting which can lead to dehydration and fluid loss; these can be deadly in extreme situations.  As such, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that every infant in America should receive their first rotavirus vaccine dose between the ages of 2 and 4 months. 

Lead study author Dr. Mary Rogers asserts that Type 1 diabetes is still somewhat uncommon, and that means observing any medical trends associated with the condition—which requires massive amounts of data—can take a while to observe.  The University of Michigan Associate Professor concludes, then, “It will take more time and analyses to confirm these findings.  But we do see a decline in Type 1 diabetes in young children after the rotavirus vaccine was introduced.”

The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Michigan and based on analysis of insurance data.  It has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.