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Cases of rotavirus infections have fallen by 84% in three years

26 August 2016

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Rotavirus diagnoses have fallen significantly since a vaccination against the virus was introduced into the childhood immunisation schedule in 2013.

Figures published by Public Health England have shown that the number of people diagnosed with rotavirus has dropped by 84% in the last three years.

Around 14,000 children were admitted to hospital each year as a result of the highly infectious virus, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, because of complications such as extreme dehydration.

The figures are based on the comparison of the number of cases in 2015/16 at peak season versus the average number of cases in the same period between 2003/4 and 2012/13.

A vaccination against rotavirus was added to the childhood immunisation schedule in July 2013 to be given to babies at the age of two and three months.

The vaccine protects them against the virus that particularly affects babies and young children under five.

It is given in two doses approximately four weeks apart, when the baby is two months and three months old, alongside other routine childhood vaccinations.

The Department of Health has confirmed that the vaccine, which was offered to babies for an initial period of three years, will continue to be offered as part of the national childhood immunisation programme.

Dr Ravi Pawa, medical affairs manager for vaccine provider GSK, said: “It is great to see that since the introduction of the rotavirus vaccination programme there has been a positive impact on reducing the number of cases of this infectious virus amongst young babies in the UK.

“We are delighted that GSK’s rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, will continue to be offered as part of the national childhood immunisation programme.”

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