Prevention

The spread of rotavirus can be minimised by thorough hand washing after changing nappies or cleaning up vomit, after using the bathroom, before preparing food and before eating.

Children with diarrhoea or vomiting should not attend school or childcare centres until they have not had any loose poos/ tütae or vomiting for 24 hours.

Purifying water supplies and improving hygiene alone are unlikely to substantially reduce the incidence of this disease.

RotaTeq® is an immunisation given to infants by mouth (orally) to protect them from severe rotavirus infection. RotaTeq® is free on the National Immunisation Schedule at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months of age - at the same visits as Infanrix®-hexa and either Synflorix® or Prevenar 13®.

Read more about RotaTeq®

Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus that infects the intestine (gut) causing gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting) in infants and young children. Without immunisation almost all children in the world are infected by rotavirus before five years of age. Rotavirus is recognised as the most common cause of diarrhoea and dehydration in infants and young children in all countries. Adults can also become infected.

Symptoms

The illness begins with the sudden onset of vomiting and watery diarrhoea which can last from three to seven days.

Fever and abdominal pain may also occur.

How is it spread?

Rotavirus is spread by the faecal-oral route and generally occurs in winter and early spring. Spread of infection within families and institutions is common as large amounts of rotavirus are present in the faeces/poos/tütae of infected individuals. Contamination of hands, hard surfaces, toys, utensils and other objects is relatively easy.