Dear Collegues, dear Friends,
Welcome to the 3rd European Expert Meeting on Rotavirus Vaccination! Join your colleagues to discuss and, hopefully, promote, rotavirus vaccination in Europe. Since the first and second European Expert meetings on Rotavirus vaccination in Helsinki (2009) and Padova (2011) our knowledge and experience on rotavirus vaccination has expanded considerably.
Rotavirus is still the main cause of severe acute diarrhoea in infancy and early childhood around the world. It is still associated with high mortality in poorer countries. Before licensure two rotavirus vaccines were tested worldwide for safety, immunogenicity and efficacy in 2 trials comprising over 60 000 infants each. One of these is a single-strain attenuated human rotavirus vaccine (RV1), while the other is a combination of five bovine–human reassortant rotaviruses (RV5). Although their presumed mechanism of action might be very different side effects and effectiveness are close to identical. Both vaccines prevent severe rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE), but are less efficacious against mild RVGE or rotavirus infection. Field effectiveness of these vaccines in Singapure, Europe and the USA against severe RVGE has been above 90%, whereas in Africa it is only around 60%.
The phenomenon of reduced rotavirus vaccine efficacy may be predicted by intrinsic immunological and epidemiological factors of low socio-economic settings.
Rotavirus vaccination has been introduced into the national immunization programs of about 20 countries in Latin America, with Brazil and Mexico as leading countries, as well as in the USA, Australia and South Africa. Introduction into other African countries will start during 2012. In Europe, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria and Finland and five of 16 federal states of Germany have introduced universal rotavirus vaccination. The reasons for the slow progress in Europe include low mortality from RVGE, unfavourable cost–benefit calculations in some countries, and concerns that still exist over intussusception.
Still we do not have a universial recommendation for rotavirus vaccination in Germany. However, rotavirus vaccination in those states of Germany that do recommend universal vaccination has made further progress: The coverage rate in Saxony is > 60%, the highest coverage was achieved in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania with 75%, , whereas the large German states with the bulk of the population show a coverage rate of about 20%. Interestingly, most of health insurances will pay rotavirus vaccination in spite of the absence of a general recommendation (www.impfkontrolle.de).
Hospitality has been the trademark of the city of Leipzig throughout the centuries. In 1165, the world’s first trade fair was held here. In 1409, Leipzig University was founded and in the course of time has become a spiritual home to great scientists, artists and writers. In 1989, Leipzig’s St. Nicholas Church was the origin of East Germany’s “Peaceful Revolution” which led to the fall of Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. The liberal, cosmopolitan and tolerant spirit of this city will also inspire the attendees.The charms of a lovable city and the rich cultural heritage will long be remembered by congress delegates. Names like Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy and Robert Schumann have made Leipzig world-famous as a city of music. Listening to St. Thomas boys’ choir or to the Gewandhaus Orchestra is an unforgettable emotional experience.
We are looking forward to meet you in Leipzig!
Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Iko Huppertz