Background: Postlicensure data has identified a causal link between rotavirus vaccines and intussusception in some settings. As rotavirus vaccines are introduced globally, monitoring intussusception will be crucial for ensuring safety of the vaccine programs.
Methods: To obtain updated information on background rates and clinical management of intussusception, we reviewed studies of intussusception in children <18 years of age published since 2002. We assessed the incidence of intussusception by month of life among children <1 year of age, seasonality, method of diagnosis, treatment, and case-fatality.
Findings: We identified 82 studies from North America, Asia, Europe, Oceania, Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, and Central & South America that reported a total of 44,454 intussusception events. The mean incidence of intussusception was 74 per 100,000 (range: 9-328) among children <1 year of age, with peak incidence among infants 5-7 months of age. No seasonal patterns were observed. A radiographic modality was used to diagnose intussusception in over 95% of the cases in all regions except Africa where clinical findings or surgery were used in 65% of the cases. Surgical rates were substantially higher in Africa (77%) and Central and South America (86%) compared to other regions (13-29%). Case-fatality also was higher in Africa (9%) compared to other regions (<1%). The primary limitation of this review relates to the heterogeneity in intussusception surveillance across different regions.
Conclusion: This review of the intussusception literature from the past decade provides pertinent information that should facilitate implementation of intussusception surveillance for monitoring the postlicensure safety of rotavirus vaccines.