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Rotavirus is most common in children under the age of 5 years and is easily transmitted and very contagious.

UNDERSTANDING ROTAVIRUS

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WHAT IS ROTAVIRUS
Rotavirus is most common in children under the age of 5 years and is easily transmitted and very contagious.1
It is responsible for up to 500 000 diarrhoeal deaths/year, worldwide.2
The virus enters the body through the mouth and viral replication occurs in the villous epithelium of the small intestine.2  Infection may lead to isotonic diarrhoea.2
Rotavirus is very stable and may remain viable for weeks or months if not disinfected.
2 Improved sanitation alone is not sufficient to prevent rotavirus infection.2
 

 

CLINICAL FEATURES

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  • Short incubation period. (> 48 hours)2 The first infection after age of 3 months
    is generally the most severe.2
  • Rotavirus may be asymptomatic or can result in severe dehydrating diarrhoea with fever (39 °C) and vomiting.1,2
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms generally resolve in 3 to 7 days.2
  • Laboratory testing is required to confirm rotavirus infection.2

SYMPTOMS AND COMPLICATIONS

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Symptoms of Rotavirus

  • Vomiting.
  • Severe fatigue.
  • High fever.
  • Irritability.
  • Dehydration.
  • Abdominal pain.1

 Rotavirus infection in babies and young children can lead to :

  • Severe diarrhoea.
  • Dehydration.
  • Electrolyte imbalance.
  • Metabolic acidosis.2

 

ROTAVIRUS PREVENTION

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The rotavirus vaccine is given in oral form.1
Vaccination  prevents :

  • 74 %-87 % of any rotavirus gastroenteritis.2
  • 85 %-98 % severe gastroenteritis.2

Vaccination significantly reduced physician visits for diarrhoea, and reduced rotavirus-related hospitalization.2

SA VACCINATION SCHEDULE

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Vaccination is recommended at 6, 10* and 14 weeks and should not be given after 32 weeks.(1,3,4)
*Vaccine type dependent.

 


  1. Elissa Meites, et al. Rotavirus. Centers for disease control and prevention. Nov 2020; 311-324. Pinkbook: Rotavirus | CDC. Accessed : 12 July 2021.
  2. Kristeen Cherney. What is Rotavirus. Healthline. 7 May 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/rotavirus. Accessed : 6 Aug 2021
  3. Rotateq PI PMG schedule

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