Rotavirus is the most common cause of serious diarrhoea and vomiting in young children. It is highly infectious and can cause death through severe dehydration. Before a vaccine was developed, it affected almost every child in the world by the age of 5. In the UK, where there is good medical care, very few children have died from rotavirus infection, although before a vaccine was introduced around 12,700 children a year were admitted to hospital. Rotavirus was the most frequent cause of hospital admission for children with diarrhoea in the UK. However, in the developing world children are much more at risk. The World Health Organization estimates that rotavirus infections caused between 475,000 and 580,000 deaths worldwide in 2004, mainly in developing countries.
In the short film below, Dr Andrew Prendergast talks about rotavirus infection and why it is important to vaccinate against the disease.
What is Rotavirus and why do we need a vaccine?