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What is Rotavirus?
Rotavirus is a contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines). It is also the main cause of diarrhoea hospitalisations among children in the world.
Rotavirus spread by fecal oral route, it occurs when infectious particles from feces are ingested through the mouth. It is transmitted through close contact with infected person and contact with contaminated environmental surfaces.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include severe watery diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, adominal pain and loss of appetite. Infants and young children are most likely to get rotavirus disease. Complications of rotavirus cause children to become severely dehydrated and need to be hospitalized. It may even lead to death in some cases. Rotavirus infection usually resolves by themselves after three to nine days. In repeat infections, the symptoms may be mild or not occur at all.
How to prevent Rotavirus?
Rotavirus vaccination is the best way to protect children against rotavirus disease. The vaccines are very effective at preventing severe rotavirus disease in infants and young children.*Rotavirus vaccine prevents diarrhoea and vomiting caused by rotavirus only. It does not prevent diarrhoea and vomiting caused by other germs.Currently there are two rotavirus vaccines used in infants in Singapore. Both vaccines are given orally, and differ in the number of doses given. The vaccines may be given at the same time as other childhood vaccines. Good personal hygiene such as washing of hand is also important in controlling the spread of the infection.