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 babies starting at 2 months of age. It is given as a series of 3 doses. The first dose is given at 2 months of age, the second at 4 months and the third at 6 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 your baby gets the rotavirus vaccine on time. The first dose of the vaccine must be given before 20 weeks of age and the vaccine series must be completed by 8 months of age.