Rotavirus

The disease

Did you know?

Approximately 1 in 5 cases of all severe childhood diarrhea and vomiting is caused by rotavirus. Almost all Canadian children will be infected with rotavirus at least once by 5 years of age.

Rotavirus vaccine with Dr. Ran Goldman

  • Rotavirus is a virus that causes gastroenteritis, sometimes called the stomach flu.
  • Rotavirus is easily spread through contact with the stools of an infected child, such as the handling of diapers.
  • Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea and hospitalization for diarrhea in children under 5 years of age.
  • Almost all children will have at least one rotavirus infection before they are 5 years of age.
  • The first symptoms of rotavirus infection are usually fever and vomiting, followed by diarrhea and stomach pain. These symptoms appear 1 to 3 days after a person has been infected with the virus. Diarrhea can last from 4 to 8 days.
  • Severe and frequent diarrhea and/or vomiting can lead to dehydration in young children, and this may result in death if not treated.

The vaccine

  • The rotavirus vaccine is given to children as a series of two doses. The first dose is given at 2 months of age, and the second at 4 months.
  • The vaccine is given by mouth. A few drops of the liquid vaccine are placed into your baby's mouth to swallow.
  • It is important that babies get the rotavirus vaccine on time. The first dose of the vaccine must be given before 20 weeks of age and the second dose before 8 months of age.