In 2014, a study performed in the United States found that children who were given a vaccine to prevent rotavirus had a 21 percent reduction in the incidence of seizures requiring either an emergency department visit or hospitalization. This effect was observed for up to one year after vaccination and applied to both febrile and afebrile seizures (Payne DC, Baggs J, Zerr DM, et al. Protective association between rotavirus vaccination and childhood seizures in the year following vaccination in US children. Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Jan;58(2):173-7).
More recently, Sheridan and coworkers at the Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute in Australia repeated the U.S. study (Sheridan SL, Ware RS, Grimwood K, Lambert SB. Febrile seizures in the era of rotavirus vaccine. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2016 Jun;5(2):206-9). In this study, however, observations were limited to febrile seizures only. Investigators found that children who were given a rotavirus vaccine had a 35.8 percent reduction in emergency department visits and a 38 percent reduction in hospitalizations for febrile seizures. These findings are consistent with the fact that rotavirus infection has consistently been found in at least some children who present to the emergency department with a febrile seizure.
The authors of the Australian study concluded, “The benefits of early childhood rotavirus vaccination, some of which were not obvious before introduction, continue to accumulate.”