Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus that causes diarrhea. Before the vaccine was developed, most children were infected with this virus at least once by the time they were 5 years old. Such cases can be treated at home by drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

A rotavirus infection usually begins within two days of exposure to the virus. Early symptoms include fever and vomiting, followed by watery diarrhea for a period of three to seven days. infection can also cause abdominal pain. In case of healthy adults, however; a rotavirus infection may cause only mild signs and symptoms or no symptoms at all.

To reduce the spread of rotavirus, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after using the toilet, changing your child’s diaper, or helping your child use the toilet. But even a strict commitment to hand washing gives no guarantees. Commonly used alcohol-based hand sanitizers also have little effect on rotavirus.

The World Health Organization recommends that all countries give children the rotavirus vaccine. There are two types of vaccines available:

Rotatik This vaccine is given orally in three doses, usually at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months of age. This vaccine is not approved for use in older children or adults.

Rotarix. This vaccine is a liquid that is given in two doses to infants at 2 and 4 months of age.

These two vaccines are safe and effective, and studies indicate that they were proven successful in protecting thousands of children from rotavirus infection each year.