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Rotavirus

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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

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About Rotavirus

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

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Vaccination

Information about rotavirus vaccines...

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Clinical Information

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

Map
Surveillance

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

Textbooks
Textbooks and Publications

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

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Multimedia

Listen to podcasts about rotavirus...

Want to Know More About Rotavirus?

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Prevention

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.

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