Three Rotavirus Outbreaks in the Postvaccine Era — California, 2017

Rachel M. Burke, PhD; Jacqueline E. Tate, PhD; Nora Barin, MPH; Carly Bock; Michael D. Bowen, PhD; David Chang, MD; Rashi Gautam, PhD; George Han, MD; John Holguin, MPH; Thalia Huynh; Chao-Yang Pan, MPH; Rebecca Quenelle, MPH; Catherine Sallenave, MD; Cindy Torres; Debra Wadford, PhD; Umesh Parashar, MBBS


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2018;67(16):470-472. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Before the introduction of rotavirus vaccine in 2006, rotavirus was the most common cause of severe diarrhea among U.S. children.[1] Currently, two rotavirus vaccines are licensed for use in the United States, both of which have demonstrated good field effectiveness (78%–89%) against moderate to severe rotavirus illness,[2] and the use of these vaccines has substantially reduced the prevalence of rotavirus in the United States.[3] However, the most recent national vaccine coverage estimates indicate lower full rotavirus vaccine–series completion (73%) compared with receipt of at least 3 doses of vaccines containing diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis antigens (95%), given on a similar schedule to rotavirus vaccines.[4] In the postvaccine era in the United States, rotavirus activity persists in a biennial pattern.[3] This report describes three rotavirus outbreaks that occurred in California in 2017. One death was reported; however, the majority of cases were associated with mild to moderate illness, and illness occurred across the age spectrum as well as among vaccinated children. Rotavirus vaccines are designed to mimic the protective effects of natural infection and are most effective against severe rotavirus illness.[2] Even in populations with high vaccination coverage, some rotavirus infections and mild to moderate illnesses will occur. Rotavirus vaccination should continue to be emphasized as the best means of reducing disease prevalence in the United States.