Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis
(gastro) in infants and young children. Rotavirus is spread easily
by hand-to-mouth contact with faeces from an infected person, by
touching contaminated hands or objects, or through contaminated
food or water.
The main symptoms of rotavirus infection are vomiting and watery
diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration, particularly in young
children. Rotavirus is one of the major reasons young children are
hospitalised for acute gastroenteritis. Children under 5 years of
age had approximately 10 thousand rotavirus related
hospitalisations each year in Australia prior to the introduction
of rotavirus vaccines.
Children can be infected with rotavirus several times during
their lives. The first infection, which generally occurs in babies
aged 3 to 36 months, tends to cause severe diarrhoea and
Vaccination is generally considered to be the best approach for
protection from severe rotavirus gastroenteritis. Rotavirus
vaccines are available on the government funded immunisation
program for infants. Talk to your health care professional to find
The content of this website is currently under review.
General vaccination recommendations listed on this site may not
fully reflect the most recent advice in the 10th Edition of the
Australian Immunisation Handbook, which was released in April 2013.
Please speak to your healthcare professional for individual