Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Viral Gastroenteritis Rotavirus Prevention

Prevention of rotavirus includes:

  • Do not share eating utensils.
  • Avoid contact with others who have diarrhea.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Rotavirus vaccine (Rotateq):
    • Can prevent diarrhea in 74% rotavirus cases
    • Can prevent 98% of severe cases
    • Can prevent 96% of hospitalizations due to rotavirus
    • Most common side effect is diarrhea

Viral Gastroenteritis Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus vaccine (e.g. Rotarix, Rota-Teq) is an oral vaccine. It is not given by injection. It does not prevent infection, but it does prevent severe infection. About 98% of children who receive the vaccine are protected from severe rotavirus gastroenteritis. As many as 74% of vaccinated children will not experience diarrhea if they are infected with rotavirus.

Dosing rotavirus vaccine is as follows:

  • First dose:
    • 2 months of age
    • Should be given between 6 and 12 weeks of age
  • Second dose:
    • 4 months of age
    • May be given at same time with other vaccines
  • Third dose:
    • 6 months of age
    • Children should have received all 3 doses by 32 weeks of age.

Who should not get the rotavirus vaccine or at least wait?
  • Any child who has had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of rotavirus vaccine
  • Any child who is moderately to severely ill at the time of vaccination should postpone the vaccine until they recover. Children with a mild illness can receive the vaccine.
  • If your child has a weak immune system, discuss the vaccine with your doctor.
  • Any child who has recently received a transfusion or blood product should check with their doctor prior to receiving the vaccine.

What are the risks of the rotavirus vaccine?

Continue to Viral Gastroenteritis Rotavirus Outlook

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Viral Gastroenteritis Rotavirus References
  1. Anderson EJ, Weber SG. Rotavirus infection in adults. Lancet Infect Dis. 2004 Feb;4(2):91-9. [14871633]
  2. Glass RI, Bresee JS, Turcios R, Fischer TK, Parashar UD, Steele AD. Rotavirus vaccines: targeting the developing world. J Infect Dis. 2005 Sep 1;192 Suppl 1:S160-6. [16088799]
  3. Rivest P, Proulx M, Lonergan G, Lebel MH, Bedard L. Hospitalisations for gastroenteritis: the role of rotavirus. Vaccine. 2004 May 7;22(15-16):2013-7. [15121314]
  4. Widdowson MA, Bresee JS, Gentsch JR, Glass RI. Rotavirus disease and its prevention. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2005 Jan;21(1):26-31. [15687881]
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