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What is rotavirus?

Page last updated 11 July 2018

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 (cramps), 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 still relatively common in Australia, routine immunisation has successfully decreased 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. Victorian Government, Better Health Channel, Rotavirus. Available at (accessed 7 April 2018).
  2. Centers for Disease Control. Rotavirus – Symptoms. Available at (accessed 7 April 2018).
  3. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition, 4.17 Rotavirus. Available at (accessed 7 April 2018).
  4. NSW Government, Department of Health, Rotavirus Fact Sheet. Available at (accessed 7 April 2018)

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0157a - Date of preparation May 2018