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What is rotavirus?

Page last updated 08 April 2022

Rotavirus is a virus that belongs to the Reoviridae family. It causes viral gastroenteritis and is common in children. 

Some people, particularly infants under three months, may show no symptoms of infection. Or, people may experience abdominal pain, watery diarrhoea, vomiting, with or without fever. Severe diarrhoea and vomiting can cause fluid loss and dehydration that without medical treatment may be fatal. 

Although rotavirus is still relatively common in Australia, routine immunisation has successfully decreased the number of roatvirus cases, and the severity of symptoms and hence the number of hospitalisations due to rotavirus.

Under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), it is recommended that children receive two doses of the rotavirus vaccine at 2 and 4 months of age.

Sources & Citations

1.  Victoria State Government. Better Health Channel. Rotavirus. Available at: (accessed 15 March 2022).

3. Australian Government, Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Available at: (accessed 15 March 2022). 

4. NSW Government. Rotavirus Fact Sheet. Available at: 
(accessed 15 March 2022).

7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Pink Book: Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Chapter 19: Rotavirus. Available at: (accessed 15 March 2022).

MAT-AU-2200805   Date of Preparation March 2022