What Is Rotavirus?
Rotavirus is a virus that is transmitted through stool. It is easily spread by contaminated hands and objects. Symptoms usually begin about 2 days after contact with the virus. Symptoms may include:
Rotavirus rarely causes death in developed countries.
What Is the Rotavirus Vaccine? ^
The rotavirus vaccine is given by mouth. This is a live virus vaccine. This means it contains a living virus can produce immunity to the disease.
The vaccine comes in 2 brands, RotaTeq and Rotarix.
Who Should Get Vaccinated and When? ^
Your baby will need 2-3 doses. The number of doses depends on which type of vaccine your baby gets. The recommended schedule for giving these doses is:
- 2 months for first dose
- 4 months for second dose
- 6 months for third dose, if needed
This vaccine is not given to older children or adults.
What Are the Risks Associated With the Rotavirus Vaccine? ^
As with any vaccine, there is a small risk of severe reaction, such as a severe allergic reaction.
Most infants get the vaccine without any problems. In a small number of cases, children may have mild diarrhea or vomiting after getting the vaccine.
There may be a very small risk of a serious bowel obstruction called intussusception.
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated? ^
Children should not get the vaccine if they:
- Have had a life-threatening allergic reaction from a previous dose or any of its components
- Are very ill
- Have severe combined immunodeficiency
- Have had intussusception or have an abnormality of the intestine
Talk to your doctor if your child has a weak immune system due to the following:
- HIV infection or AIDS
- Is taking long-term steroid medication
- Has cancer or is receiving cancer treatment
What Other Ways Can Rotavirus Be Prevented Besides Vaccination? ^
It is important that you wash your hands and practice good hygiene.
What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak? ^
Frequent hand washing and washing of surfaces is recommended to keep the virus from spreading. Dirty linens and clothes should be handled as little as possible. These items should be laundered with detergent and machine-dried.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
National Network for Immunization Information
Vaccines & Immunizations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Addition of history of intussusception as a contraindication for rotavirus vaccination. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011;60(41):1427.
Ciarlet M, Schodel F. Development of a rotavirus vaccine: clinical safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of the pentavalent rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq. Vaccine. 2009;27(Suppl 6):G72-G81.
Desai SN, Esposito DB, Shapiro ED, Dennehy PH, Vazquez M. Effectiveness of rotavirus vaccine in preventing hospitalization due to rotavirus gastroenteritis in young children in Connecticut, USA. Vaccine. 2010;28(47):7501-7506.
Rotavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus. Updated April 11, 2011. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Rotavirus gastroenteritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 25, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Rotavirus vaccine live. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 4, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Rotavirus VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/rotavirus.html. Updated December 6, 2010. Accessed June 5, 2013.
Rotavirus vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/rotavirus/default.htm. Updated May 21, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013.
4/14/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Haber P, Patel M, Izurieta HS, et al. Postlicensure monitoring of intussusception after RotaTeq vaccination in the United States, February 1, 2006, to September 25, 2007. Pediatrics. 2008;121(6):1206-1212.
10/30/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reduction in rotavirus after vaccine introduction—United States, 2000-2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009;58(41):1146-1149.
3/16/2012 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Shui IM, Baggs J, Patel M, et al. Risk of intussusception following administration of a pentavalent rotavirus vaccine in US infants. JAMA. 2012;307(6):598-604.
Last reviewed November 2015 by David L. Horn, MD Last Updated: 12/20/2014