Rotaviruses are viruses that can cause an infection of the gastrointestinal tract. By the age of 5, almost all children have had at least 1 rotavirus infection. In the Netherlands there are 2600-4700 hospital admissions per year due to a rotavirus infection among younger children (under 2 years of age). On average, 6-7 children die every year in the Netherlands due to a rotavirus infection. A vaccination is possible.
You can recognize a rotavirus infection by a combination of sudden diarrhea, fever and vomiting. This is followed by watery, frequent diarrhea that can last up to 7 days. The infection can occur at any age, but is more serious in very young children (under 2 years of age) and the elderly. The fever can be high (above 39 degrees).
Most people recover from a rotavirus infection on their own. It is important to supplement any fluid shortage with, for example, ORS (oral rehydration solution). In case of severe dehydration, it may be necessary to provide fluids with IV therapy.
How to avoid a rotavirus infection
Rotaviruses are very contagious and can be transmitted in various ways. This can occur directly, for example through contaminated hands, but it can also occur indirectly through contact with contaminated objects, such as toys, food, other people’s hands, contaminated water or through the air. Good (hand) hygiene is therefore very important, especially in the event of outbreaks at daycare, school or in the family.
A vaccination exists. This is an oral vaccine; it is administered by mouth in drops. In several countries (including Austria, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom), rotavirus vaccination is already included in the national immunisation program for all children. The vaccine must be administered twice at a very young age. In the Netherlands it is not yet known whether and when this vaccine will be included in the vaccination program for all children.
A vaccination is available for a fee at our Travel Clinics. The vaccination must be administered twice at a very young age; the first time preferably before children are 12 weeks old.
Check the conditions of your health insurance to determine whether the vaccination is reimbursed for you or your child. You can also be vaccinated against rotavirus at KLM Health Services at your own expense. Read more about our tailor-made vaccinations.