Economic costs of rotavirus gastroenteritis and cost-effectiveness of vaccination in developing countries

J Infect Dis. 2009 Nov 1;200 Suppl 1:S16-27. doi: 10.1086/605026.


Background: Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis in children worldwide. We evaluated the economic burden of rotavirus and the cost-effectiveness of vaccination from the health care perspective.

Methods: Estimates were based on existing epidemiological data, cost estimates, vaccine coverage, and efficacy data, as well as hypothetical vaccine prices. Outcome measures included health care and societal costs of rotavirus and benefits and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of vaccination. Sensitivity analyses evaluated the impact of estimate uncertainty.

Results: Treatment costs increased with income level, and health burden decreased; however, burden varied across regions. On the basis of current vaccination coverage and timing, rotavirus vaccination would annually prevent 228,000 deaths, 13.7 million hospital visits, and 8.7 million disability-adjusted life-years, saving $188 million in treatment costs and $243 million in societal costs. At $5 per dose, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio in low-, lower-middle-, and upper-middle-income countries was $88, $291, and $329 per disability-adjusted life-year averted, respectively, and $3,015, $9,951 and $11,296 per life saved, respectively. Vaccination would prevent approximately 45% of deaths and approximately 58% of associated medical visits and costs.

Conclusions: Vaccination is a cost-effective strategy to reduce the health and economic burden of rotavirus. The cost-effectiveness of vaccination depends mostly on vaccine price and reaching children at highest risk of mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Developing Countries
  • Gastroenteritis / economics*
  • Gastroenteritis / mortality
  • Humans
  • Rotavirus Infections / economics*
  • Rotavirus Infections / mortality
  • Rotavirus Vaccines / economics
  • Rotavirus Vaccines / immunology*
  • Vaccination / economics*


  • Rotavirus Vaccines