Timing of Birth as an Emergent Risk Factor for Rotavirus Hospitalization and Vaccine Performance in the Postvaccination Era in the United States.


Rotavirus vaccines were introduced in the United States in 2006, and in the years since they have fundamentally altered the seasonality of rotavirus infection and have shifted disease outbreaks from annual epidemics to biennial epidemics. We investigated whether season and year of birth have emerged as risk factors for rotavirus or have affected vaccine performance. We constructed a retrospective birth cohort of US children under age 5 years using the 2001-2014 MarketScan database (Truven Health Analytics, Chicago, Illinois). We evaluated the associations of season of birth, even/odd year of birth, and interactions with vaccination. We fitted Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the hazard of rotavirus hospitalization according to calendar year of birth and season of birth assessed for interaction with vaccination. After the introduction of rotavirus vaccine, we observed monotonically decreasing rates of rotavirus hospitalization for each subsequent birth cohort but a biennial incidence pattern by calendar year. In the postvaccine period, children born in odd calendar years had a higher hazard of rotavirus hospitalization than those born in even years. Children born in winter had the highest hazard of hospitalization but also had greater vaccine effectiveness than children born in spring, summer, or fall. With the emergence of a strong biennial pattern of disease following vaccine introduction, the timing of a child's birth has become a risk factor for rotavirus infection.

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