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Rotavirus 

Rotavirus
Chapter:
Rotavirus
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198729228.003.0108
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date: 17 June 2019

Rotavirus is an important cause of mortality in children in the resource-poor world where approximately 400 000 children under 5 years die from rotavirus infection yearly. Rotavirus infection is ubiquitous worldwide, and, by the age of 5 years, almost every child will have been exposed to, and become infected with, rotavirus, fewer than half of whom will have clinically apparent infection. Although the mortality rate in the developed world is low (in Western Europe around 200/year), rotavirus is an important cause of morbidity and is responsible for 2.5% of all hospital admissions annually in Europe. In Western Europe and the United Kingdom, it has been estimated that there are respectively around 90 000 and 15 000 admissions due to rotavirus in children each year. Supportive therapy is the only effective management strategy of rotavirus diarrhoea, if started in a timely manner. There is no effective antiviral agent for the treatment of rotavirus infection. There are two oral vaccines currently available in Europe and the United States. A monovalent human attenuated vaccine (Rotarix®, GSK Biologicals) and a pentavalent bovine–human reassortant vaccine (RotaTeq®, Merck). Both vaccines showed an efficacy in preventing severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in the range of about 90% in developed countries, with a marked reduction in the number of hospitalization and cases in those countries where rotavirus vaccines have been included, as recommended by most scientific societies, in the routine immunization schedule. In June 2009, World Health Organization recommended the introduction of rotavirus vaccination into all national immunization programmes worldwide.

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