Rotavirus is a contagious virus that can cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines). Symptoms include severe watery diarrhea,  vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Infants and young children are most likely to get rotavirus disease. They can become severely dehydrated and need to be hospitalized and can even die.


Newborn baby getting rotavirus vaccine.

Rotavirus vaccines are very effective at preventing rotavirus disease. Children should get either of the two available rotavirus vaccines:

  • RotaTeq® (RV5) is given in 3 doses at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months
  • Rotarix® (RV1) is given in 2 doses at ages 2 months and 4 months.

CDC examined three rotavirus outbreaks in California in 2017, showing mostly mild to moderate illness among vaccinated and unvaccinated children and adults. But also, one unvaccinated child died.

Medscape: Rotavirus Is Still With Us - How to Prevent an Outbreak

Rotavirus Is Still With Us–How to Prevent an OutbreakExternal
[3:50 mins]
December 2018

How Rotavirus Spreads

Person putting baby clothing on a baby.

People who are infected with rotavirus shed the virus in their stool (poop). If you get rotavirus particles in your mouth, you can get sick. This can happen if you

  • put your unwashed hands that are contaminated with poop into your mouth
  • touch contaminated objects or surfaces then put your fingers in your mouth
  • eat contaminated food