Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home


Father holding infant

Rotavirus is a virus that causes gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines). The rotavirus disease causes severe watery diarrhea, often with vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. In babies and young children, it can lead to dehydration (loss of body fluids). Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young children worldwide. Globally, it causes more than a half a million deaths each year in children younger than 5 years of age.

Rotavirus was also the leading cause of severe diarrhea in U.S. infants and young children before rotavirus vaccine was introduced for U.S. infants in 2006. Prior to that, almost all children in the United States were infected with rotavirus before their 5th birthday. Each year in the United States in the pre-vaccine period, rotavirus was responsible for more than 400,000 doctor visits; more than 200,000 emergency room visits; 55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations; and 20 to 60 deaths in children younger than 5 years of age.


Update on RotaTeq® and Rotarix® Vaccines

There are two rotavirus vaccines licensed for use in the United States: RotaTeq® and Rotarix®. These rotavirus vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective at preventing severe diarrhea. In June 2013, new data was released showing a small increase in cases of intussusception from rotavirus vaccination. Intussusception is a bowel blockage that is treated in a hospital and may require surgery. These studies estimate a risk ranging from about 1 intussusception case in every 20,000 infants to 1 intussusception case in every 100,000 infants after vaccination. Intussusception would most likely happen during the first week after the 1st or 2nd dose of rotavirus vaccine. If you have questions about rotavirus vaccine, ask your doctor or visit the rotavirus vaccination page.

For more information on intussusception and rotavirus vaccines, visit FDA Information.

Rotavirus Topics

Mother with daughter
About Rotavirus

Basics about the symptoms, transmission, prevention, treatment, photos...

Baby getting vaccinated

Information about rotavirus vaccines...

Clinical Information

Clinical features, the virus, diagnosis, treatment and prevention...


National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS), New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN)...

Textbooks and Publications

Rotavirus chapters from CDC manuals, MMWR articles, and other publications...


Listen to podcasts about rotavirus...

Want to Know More About Rotavirus?

image of mobile devices

Download CDC’s mobile app now!
Click “Disease of the Week,” find rotavirus, and take the quiz to test your knowledge!
Available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 tablets


Rotavirus vaccination

Rotavirus can spread easily among infants and young children. While hand washing and cleanliness are important ways to stop the spread of germs, they are not enough to stop rotavirus. The best way to protect children against rotavirus is to get them vaccinated on time.



Images and logos on this website which are trademarked/copyrighted or used with permission of the trademark/copyright or logo holder are not in the public domain. These images and logos have been licensed for or used with permission in the materials provided on this website. The materials in the form presented on this website may be used without seeking further permission. Any other use of trademarked/copyrighted images or logos requires permission from the trademark/copyright holder...more

External Web Site Policy This graphic notice means that you are leaving an HHS Web site. For more information, please see the Exit Notification and Disclaimer policy.

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    Contact CDC-INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #