VirusThe number of diagnosed Rotavirus cases, a highly infectious virus which may cause vomiting and diarrhoea, have dropped by 84%, following the introduction of a vaccine into the the national childhood immunisation schedule in July 2013, according to figures published by Public Health England.

This is based on the comparison of the number of cases in 2015/2016 peak season versus the average number of cases in the same period between 2003/4 and 2012/13.

The vaccine, which is given to babies at the age of 2 and 3 months, protects against the virus, which particularly affects babies and young children under 5, causing an unpleasant bout of diarrhoea, sometimes with vomiting, stomach ache and fever.

Before the vaccination was introduced, about 14,000 children were admitted to hospital each year as a result of the virus because of complications, such as extreme dehydration. 

The Department of Health also confirmed that GSK’s rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, which was offered to babies for an initial period of 3 years, will continue to be offered as part of the national childhood immunisation programme.

Dr Ravi Pawa, Medical Affairs Manager for GSK UK Pharmaceuticals Vaccines, 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.”