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Babies to get rotavirus vaccine

Infants aged two to four months will be offered a vaccine to protect them against an unpleasant and dangerous infectious disease that causes diarrhoea and vomiting, the UK government has announced.

Each year, rotavirus causes illness in 140,000 children under the age of five in the UK and hospitalises around one in every ten of these.

It is estimated that the oral vaccine, which will be given in two doses alongside other routine childhood immunisations, will halve the number of vomiting and diarrhoea cases caused by rotavirus and lead to 70 per cent fewer hospital stays.

Studies in the US have shown that rotavirus-related hospital admissions for young children have been cut by more than two thirds since rotavirus vaccination was introduced.

The UK vaccination programme will begin in September 2013.

Many people think of diarrhoea as something that all children get and that you have to put up with. But there is a way to protect children from this.

Rotavirus is spread when a child who is infected does not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet.

Most cases are mild but in very young children there is a real risk of dehydration and they may need hospital treatment.

Visit the rest of our Pregnancy and Caring for your Children Centre for more information on child health or if you’d like to post a question for one of our experts. Or read lifestyle article ‘what you can do to eliminate bugs’ for advice on the ‘top 10 bug busters’.

Source © Trio Media 2012

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