Rotavirus is a virus that causes diarrhoea (loose motions). Babies and children infected with rotavirus may have vomiting, stomach ache and fever along with loose motions and may require hospitalization due to dehydration. Rotavirus is dangerous; infact in India, rotavirus is one of the leading causes of serious diarrhoea and death in children below 5 years, (more than 1 lakh children) every year.1
How does rotavirus spread?
Rotavirus is extremely contagious…that is it spreads with ease from one person to another. Rotavirus can spread from an infected person to a healthy one through close contact. The virus can exist on surfaces and objects touched by the infected person and infect your child if they touch it. For example, if your child plays with a toy that has been touched by an infected child or a caretaker in a daycare or school; they may get rotavirus diarrhoea.
How do I protect my child from rotavirus?
You may be constantly monitoring what your child eats, but you can’t be with them 24 X7 and cannot completely control what they eats or touch or whom they come in contact with but you can definitely protect them with rotavirus vaccination.
Giving the rotavirus vaccination is a preventive strategy that can protect your child from rotavirus infection. It comes in the form of a liquid which is given orally to your baby with a dropper.
When should I give the rotavirus vaccination to my baby?2
Three doses of rotavirus vaccine at ages 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks are to be given.2
If your child has missed a dose for some reason, be sure to ask your doctor about when to give a catch-up dose.
Why should I give my baby the rotavirus vaccine?
You should give your child the benefit of the rotavirus vaccination as it is very effective; offers 74–85% protection against rotavirus diarrhea of any severity and ~90–100% protection against severe rotavirus disease.3 Moreover, this vaccine is very safe; only minor side-effects like irritability and mild loose motions may be seen.
Rotavirus infections often spread like wildfire in settings where many children are packed together, such as day- care centres and schools. When children fall prey to rotavirus diarrhoea, they may feel drained of energy and weak. They may become lethargic and may have to stay absent from school and play. Their overall immunity may also slide down. Their appetites might decline and they may suffer from weight loss. If dehydration is not overcome with fluids, they may have to be hospitalized too.
Why let your child unnecessarily suffer when rotavirus can be easily prevented?
It is better to vaccinate your child against rotavirus and protect them.
- Indian J Community Med. 2009 Oct; 34(4): 279–282.
- IAP Immunisation schedule 2016
- Eur J Immunol. 2009 Jan; 39(1): 36–46.