What is Rotovirus?

Rotavirus is a highly infectious virus of the gut. It can range from a short period of mild, watery diarrhoea to severe, dehydrating diarrhoea with vomiting, fever and shock.

The virus is spread by contact with the faeces (poos) of an infected person. This can happen if people don't wash their hands properly after going to the toilet or changing nappies.

What parents need to know

  • Intussusception is  a type of bowel blockage when one part of the bowel slides into another part, like a telescope.
  • It requires medical attention.
  • Each year about 43 babies in NZ under age of one year will experience intussusception.
  • Rotavirus vaccine is linked with a small increased risk for intussusception, about another 1-4 cases in NZ in babies under one year of age.
  • If your baby has severe crying with tummy pain and you are worried, take them to the doctor
  • The risk of going to hospital with rotavirus disease is much greater than this small risk associated with the vaccine.
  • Each year in NZ there are hundreds of babies admitted to hospital with rotavirus disease, some require intensive care. Thousands more will need to see a doctor.
  • Rotavirus vaccination will greatly reduce the number of admissions and doctor's visits

For more information including immunisation details, visit www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/diseases-and-illnesses/rotavirus

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