Objectives: A two-dose oral monovalent rotavirus vaccine (RV1) was introduced into the Kenyan National Immunization Program in July 2014. We assessed trends in hospitalisation for rotavirus-specific acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and strain distribution among children <5 years in a rural, resource-limited setting in Kenya before and after the nationwide implementation of the vaccine. Methods: Data on rotavirus AGE and strain distribution were derived from a 5-year hospital-based surveillance. We compared rotavirus-related hospitalisations and strain distribution in the 2-year post-vaccine period with the 3-year pre-vaccine baseline. Vaccine administrative data from the Unit of Vaccines and Immunization Services (UVIS) for Mbita sub-county were used to estimate rotavirus immunisation coverage in the study area. Results: We observed a 48% (95% CI: 27–64%) overall decline in rotavirus-related hospitalisations among children aged <5 years in the post-vaccine period. Coverage with the last dose of rotavirus vaccine increased from 51% in year 1% to 72% in year 2 of the vaccine implementation. Concurrently, reductions in rotavirus hospitalisations increased from 40% in the first year to 53% in the second year of vaccine use. The reductions were most pronounced among the vaccine-eligible group, with the proportion of cases in this age group dropping to 14% in post-vaccine years from a high of 51% in the pre-vaccine period. A diversity of rotavirus strains circulated before the introduction of the vaccine with G1P being the most dominant strain. G2P replaced G1P as the dominant strain after the vaccine was introduced. Conclusions: Rotavirus vaccination has resulted in a notable decline in hospital admissions for rotavirus infections in a rural resource-limited population in Kenya. This provides early evidence for continued use of rotavirus vaccines in routine childhood immunisations in Kenya. Our data also underscore the need for expanding coverage on second dose so as to maximise the impact of the vaccine.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases