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Chances of interaction of ROTAVIRUS VACCINE with ENBREL.

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My granddaughter (8 weeks) just had a live virus vaccination (rotavirus). She will be in my home this weekend along with my mother who uses Enbrel. We have been told there may be some cautions about their interaction. Can you give general guidance about their proximity to each other for my mother's safety?

Category: Pediatrician

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Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
 21 Doctors Online

Dear Sir/Madam,
Thanks for your query at
I can understand your concerns.
This Rotavirus vaccine was initially thought not to produce any herd immunity (meaning that it does not spread from person to person), but recent data has shown that it does. It not only protects the child who has been immunized but also the adult or child who may come in contact with the child and acquire the vaccine virus from the vaccinated individual. But the same characteristic of the virus can prove harmful to your mother.
Enbrel (Etanercept) is an immunosuppressant and an immunomodulator. Basically,your mother is immunosuppressed and has an impaired ability to fight infections. So, if she acquires the virus from the child, she may not mount an immune response and hence, may develop a serious, life-threatening diarrheal illness. Rotavirus spreads by orofecal route and through unclean hands. Hence, the family needs to ensure the following:
1. It would be preferable not to handle the baby herself. Even if she handles the baby, she should not kiss the child.
2. If she handles the baby, she should wash her hands and only then touch her face, lips, mouth or feed.
3. She should avoid changing the diapers of the infant as the virus is excreted in the feces. She should definitely not come in direct contact with feces of the infant. This is especially likely if the baby is being handled without a diaper on. The baby is likely to pass stools anytime.
4. All family members handling and serving food to your mom should wash their hands thoroughly before serving food to her. They should preferably not handle the diapers or feces of the infant (if that is possible).
These are only theoretical suggestions. As such, this is an unprecedented scenario and there are no studies or research on an infant with a household member being immunocompromised. There is insufficient data on Rotavirus vaccine in immunocompromised. Hence, there is always a small risk that despite all these precautions, she may acquire the rotavirus. If she acquires the virus, her body may react absolutely normally or may develop a life-threatening diarrheal illness. One cannot be sure.
Dr. Saptharishi L G

Dr. Saptharishi L G
DM (Pediatric Critical Care) Senior Resident
MBBS, MD (Pediatrics), PGDCRL

Dr. Saptharishi L G
Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
Senior Residency: DM,  Pediatric Critical Care, PGIMER

Residency: MD, Pediatrics, Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, 2013

Internship: JIPMER, 2009

Medical School: MBBS, Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, 2008
Dr. Saptharishi L G and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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