What Is Rotavirus?
Rotavirus is a virus that is transmitted through stool. It is easily spread by contaminated hands and objects. Symptoms usually begin about two days after contact with the virus. Symptoms may include:
Rotavirus rarely causes death in developed countries.
What Is the Rotavirus Vaccine?
The rotavirus vaccine is given by mouth. This is a live virus vaccine. This means it contains a living virus can produce immunity to the disease.
The vaccine comes in two brands, RotaTeq and Rotarix.
Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?
Your baby will need two or three doses. The number of doses depends on which type of vaccine your baby gets. The recommended schedule for giving these doses is:
- 2 months for first dose
- 4 months for second dose
- 6 months for third dose, if needed
This vaccine is not given to older children or adults.
What Are the Risks Associated With the Rotavirus Vaccine?
As with any vaccine, there is a small risk of severe reaction, such as a severe allergic reaction.
Most infants get the vaccine without any problems. In a small number of cases, children may have mild diarrhea or vomiting after getting the vaccine.
There may be a very small risk of a serious bowel obstruction called intussusception.
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?
Children should not get the vaccine if they:
- Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction from a previous dose or any of its components
- Are very ill
- Have severe combined immunodeficiency
- Have had intussusception or have an abnormality of the intestine
Talk to your doctor if your child has a weak immune system due to the following:
- HIV infection or AIDS
- Is taking long-term steroid medication
- Has cancer or is receiving cancer treatment
What Other Ways Can Rotavirus Be Prevented Besides Vaccination?
It is important that you wash your hands and practice good hygiene.
What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak?
Frequent hand washing and washing of surfaces is recommended to keep the virus from spreading. Dirty linens and clothes should be handled as little as possible. These items should be laundered with detergent and machine-dried.
- Reviewer: David L Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/13/2014 -