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St Jean, Denise T.; Rogawski McQuade, Elizabeth T.; Edwards, Jessie K.; Thompson, Peyton; Thomas, James C.; & Becker-Dreps, Sylvia I. (2022). Effect of Early Life Antibiotic Use on Serologic Responses to Oral Rotavirus Vaccine in the MAL-ED Birth Cohort Study. Vaccine, 40(18), 2580-2587. PMCID: PMC9045361


BACKGROUND: Oral rotavirus vaccine efficacy is lower in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) than in high-income countries. The degree to which antibiotic use impacts rotavirus vaccine immunogenicity in LMICs is unknown. Using data from a multisite prospective birth cohort study of malnutrition and enteric disease, MAL-ED, we examined the effect of early life antibiotic use on the immune response to rotavirus vaccine.
METHODS: We assessed whether antibiotic use from birth up to 7 days following rotavirus vaccine series completion was associated with rotavirus seropositivity at 7 months of age in Brazil, Peru, and South Africa using a modified Poisson regression. We then used parametric g-computation to estimate the impact of hypothetical interventions that treated all children and alternatively prevented inappropriate antibiotic treatments on seropositivity.
RESULTS: Of 537 children, 178 (33%) received at least one antibiotic course during the exposure window. Probability of seropositivity was 40% higher among children who had at least one course of antibiotics compared with those with no antibiotic exposure (PR: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.04, 1.89). There was no significant difference by the number of antibiotic courses received or total duration of antibiotics. Treating all children with antibiotics would be associated with a 19% (95% CI: 18%, 21%) absolute increase in seropositivity at 7 months. In contrast, removing inappropriate antibiotics would result in a 4% absolute reduction (95% CI: -5%, -2%) in seropositivity.
CONCLUSIONS: Early life antibiotic use was associated with increased seropositivity. However, a hypothetical intervention to remove inappropriate antibiotics would have little effect on overall seropositivity. Further investigation into the underlying mechanisms of antibiotic use on the infant gut microbiome and immune response are needed.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title



St Jean, Denise T.
Rogawski McQuade, Elizabeth T.
Edwards, Jessie K.
Thompson, Peyton
Thomas, James C.
Becker-Dreps, Sylvia I.

Article Type




Data Set/Study

Etiology, Risk Factors and Interactions of Enteric Infections and Malnutrition and the Consequences for Child Health and Development (MAL-ED) Cohort Study


South Africa


Edwards, J -0000-0002-1741-335X