Rotavirus

What is rotavirus?

Rotavirus is an infection that can cause severe gastroenteritis (stomach flu). Almost all children will have at least one rotavirus infection before they are five years of age. It is the most common cause of diarrhea and hospitalization for diarrhea in children under five years of age.

How is rotavirus spread?

Rotavirus is easily spread through contact with stool (bowel movement) of an infected child. For example the virus can be spread through contact with unwashed hands of caregivers changing diapers of an infected child or the hands of the infected child. The virus is often spread in child care settings, where the virus can live for days on toys and surfaces if not disinfected.

What are the symptoms of rotavirus?

Symptoms usually start one to three days after a child has been infected with the virus. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Large amount s of watery diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth and dehydration

What are the risks of rotavirus?

Severe diarrhea usually lasts between four to eight days, but can last longer. Diarrhea and vomiting can lead to severe dehydration and hospitalization in babies and young children. It can result in death if not treated.   

How can I prevent my child getting rotavirus?

The best way for your child not to get rotavirus is for them to get immunized. The rotavirus vaccine is safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get the disease. When your child gets immunized you help protect other children as well.

Who should get the rotavirus vaccine?

It is recommended that all babies get the rotavirus vaccine. It is free as part of B.C.’s routine childhood immunization schedule and given as a series of two doses at two and four months of age. Both doses are needed for best protection. Learn more about who should get the rotavirus vaccine on HealthLink BC

Get immunized against rotavirus by making an appointment with your doctor, pharmacist (for those 5 years and older) or Public Health.

To book an immunization appointment with Public Health:

Residents of Fraser East (Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope), call 604-702-4906

Residents in any other area of Fraser Health, call 604-476-7087 

What should I do if I my child gets rotavirus?

Learn about what to do if your child gets rotavirus.

Resources

For more information about rotavirus and the rotavirus vaccine, go to:

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