Up next the Rotavirus!

It is important to have conversations about the many viruses that can be prevented through vaccines, and the next one up is the Rotavirus. It is another one that is often in the series that occurs during infancy, but it is important to increase knowledge and awareness of the safety of immunization. Read on to learn more about what Rotavirus is, information about the vaccine, and its safety.

What is Rotavirus?
  • A virus that infects the lining of the intestines. It infects children between 6 and 24 months of age. In temperate climates, such as the United States, rotavirus is a winter disease. In tropical climates, the disease occurs year-round.

Before a rotavirus vaccine was available, each year in the United States almost 3 million children experienced high fevers, persistent vomiting, and diarrhea because of rotavirus infections. These illnesses occurred during the winter in the United States and led to hundreds of thousands of doctor visits, tens of thousands of hospitalizations, and a small number of deaths. In other parts of the world where vaccines and medical access are limited, rotavirus still claims the lives of more than 1,000 children every day.

Is the Rotavirus vaccine safe?
  • Rotavirus vaccines have been given to millions of babies without consequence. There are a small number of infants (approximately 1 in 100,000) where a condition called intussusception may occur.
  • Intussusception is a type of intestinal blockage that may require surgery. Because the chance of being hospitalized with a rotavirus infection is much greater (approximately 1 in 65), the benefits of receiving the vaccine are far greater than the risks.
  • 98 of every 100 children who receive the rotavirus vaccine are protected against severe rotavirus disease.

Always make sure to check in with your primary care doctor about any vaccines.

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