General Information | Surveillance & Epidemiology | Vaccination
Rotavirus infections in children and adults can last approximately 3 to 8 days and cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and mild fever. The combination of symptoms can lead to dehydration, requiring admission to hospital, especially in young infants. Prior to the introduction of a national infant rotavirus vaccination programme in 2013, an estimated 55,000 episodes of rotavirus-induced gastroenteritis occurred each year in children of less than 5 years in Scotland and approximately 1200 of these children were hospitalised.
Rotavirus is highly contagious and people of any age can be infected by rotavirus however most infections occur in infants and children under 5 years of age. Once someone has had a rotavirus infection they usually develop immunity although it may be short lived and infections are often recurrent. Infection in newborns is common but tends to be either mild or asymptomatic because of protection by circulating maternal antibodies. Prior to the introduction of the vaccination programme in 2013, rotavirus infection in the UK is seasonal, occurring mostly in winter and early spring (February to April).
Although good hygiene measures can help prevent spread of the disease, for example proper hand washing after going to the toilet or after nappy changing, however due to the robust nature of rotavirus and the low infectious dose, they are not always effective.
Following advice from the JCVI in 2009 that rotavirus vaccines would have a significant impact in reducing gastroenteritis in young children, the rotavirus vaccine was included in the infant vaccination schedule from 1 July 2013 with vaccine offered to babies at ages 8 and 12 weeks.
Department of Health
Rotavirus Vaccine Programme Information for Healthcare Professionals
Training and Educational Materials
- Immunisation Scotland
- Information on the incidence of Rotavirus infection in Scotland from Health Protection Scotland
- Changing molecular epidemiology of rotavirus infection after introduction of monovalent rotavirus vaccination in Scotland
Vaccine, Volume 35, Issue 1, Pages 156-163
Indrani Mukhopadhya, Heather Murdoch, Susan Berry, Alison Hunt, Miren Iturriza-Gomara, Alison Smith-Palmer, J. Claire Cameron, Georgina L. Hold
This laboratory based surveillance study shows significant reduction in reported rotavirus cases and a shift in proportion from G1P to G2P strains after introduction of rotavirus vaccination in Scotland. The data will be used to ascertain cross protection against strains and identify vaccine induced rotavirus strain shifts in the years to come.