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Home » News & Updates » Polio and Rotavirus »  

ROTA Council White Paper

14 April 2016


Diarrhea is one of the world’s leading causes of child illness and death, and rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea. Every child everywhere is vulnerable. Each year, rotavirus diarrhea kills about 200,000 children in countries around the world (1, 2) and hospitalizes hundreds of thousands more, despite the fact that safe, effective vaccines exist that can protect children from this disease.

Rotavirus is highly contagious, and every child is at risk. Infants and children under the age of 2 years face the greatest risk of infection. Rotavirus causes gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It primarily infects the small intestine, destroying the surface tissue and preventing the absorption of nutrients, causing diarrhea (4). Typical symptoms can range from mild, watery diarrhea to severe diarrhea with vomiting and fever.

While mild to moderate dehydration caused by rotavirus infections can be treated with oral rehydration therapy (ORT), children who develop severe dehydration often require intravenous fluids (which can be given in outpatient centers) and hospitalization. Despite the fact that ORT is inexpensive and effective, many of the world’s poorest children do not have access to it. In fact, ORT coverage is only about 30% in many of the places where the most diarrhea deaths occur (5). And without access to ORT or the urgent medical care severe infections require, rotavirus can be deadly.

A link to the executive summary and full white paper can be found here. 

Or download the full white paper below...

  arrowRotaExecSummary2015.pdf (English - pdf - 3500 Kb)   

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