David I. Bernstein, MD, MA, former director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children’s, has been honored by the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society for his work in developing a life-saving human rotavirus vaccine as well as other accomplishments.

The society presented Bernstein with its Stanley A. Plotkin Lecture in Vaccinology, an honor awarded to individuals who make significant contributions to the field of pediatric vaccine research.

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children. Each year more than 500,000 children die from diarrheal disease caused by rotavirus, and another 2 million are hospitalized. A 2009 review estimated that widespread vaccination would prevent about 45 percent of deaths due to rotavirus, which could prevent up to 228,000 deaths a year.

The World Health Organization recommends that rotavirus vaccine be included in all national immunization programs.