Rotavirus

                     Infection is the leading cause of diarrhoea in children under 5 years 
                     of age worldwide. It is responsible for over 600,000 deaths annually 
                  and approximately 40% of hospitalizations due to diarrhoea worldwide.

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), has emphasized the importance
of providing Rotavirus vaccination in the context of a comprehensive diarrhoea disease
control strategy. The strategy also emphasizes improvement of water quality, hygiene,
and sanitation; provision of oral rehydration solution and zinc supplements; and overall
improved case management

In 2018, the Rotavirus vaccine will be introduced into the UNEPI Immunization schedule.
This vaccine will protect children against the most common strains of Rotavirus, which is
the commonest cause of diarrhoea among children and results in a significant number of
children being admitted to hospitals each year.

In Uganda, surveillance for Rotavirus infection was initiated in June 2006 at one sentinel
site based at Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala.

The surveillance records showed that:

  • Rotavirus infections is a major burden ranked among the first 10 killer diseases in
    under five-year-old: in Uganda and occurs throughout the year
  • In Uganda Rotavirus infections were detected all year round, which shows that
    Rotavirus infection was a regular factor in the high disease burden among the study
    population
  • An estimated 10,637 children <5 years of age die in Uganda each year due to Rotavirus diarrhoea
  • Diarrhoea is among the top ten causes of morbidity in Uganda
  • Rotavirus accounts for almost 40% of diarrhoea cases Rotavirus Factsheet

What you need to know about Rotavirus

The Ministry of Health Uganda, Based on the available evidence, Rotavirus vaccine will have
a significant impact on reducing diarrhoea in children in Uganda and will result in a significant number of lives being saved and medical costs averted.

 

Justification for routine immunization against Rotavirus

Evidence shows that Rotavirus vaccine will have a significant impact on reducing
diarrhoea in children in Uganda and will result in a significant number of lives being
saved and medical costs averted.

What is Rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a highly infectious virus that causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting mostly
in children under 5 years of age. Diarrhoea and vomiting can lead to serious dehydration
(loss of body fluid) which can be especially harmful for young children. If dehydration is not
treated, it can lead to death.

How Rotavirus is spread

Individuals suffering from Rotavirus diarrhoea often shed large amounts of the virus in the
stool. The Rotavirus that is passed into the environment through faeces, is spread primarily
by the fecal-oral route directly from person-to-person or indirectly via contaminated food
and drinks.
It spreads easily from person to person through touching hands and/or objects contaminated
with Rotavirus and putting soiled hands into the mouth or consuming contaminated food
or drinks.
The disease commonly spreads in families, hospitals and childcare centres. Rotavirus
can live on contaminated hands for hours and surfaces/objects for several days. It is very
difficult to stop the spread of Rotavirus just by hand washing or disinfecting surfaces. Children can spread Rotavirus both before and after they become sick with diarrhoea

Signs & symptoms of Rotavirus

Rotavirus signs and symptoms include the following:
• Diarrhoea
• Vomiting
• Fever
• Stomach pain

Additional symptoms include:
• Loss of appetite
• Dehydration (loss of body fluid)
• Diarrhoea and vomiting can last for 3 to 8 days. Children may stop eating and drinking while they are sick.

Since infection occurs early in life, the majority of older children who survived and adults
develop some immunity against Rotavirus disease. Humans are the only known reservoir
of the Rotavirus that lead to clinical manifestation of the disease.

Population at risk of Rotavirus

Nearly every child is at risk of infection, regardless of location, hygiene practices, or
access to safe drinking water or sanitation. Children aged six (6) months to two (2) years
are most vulnerable to infection, along with premature infants, the elderly, and those with
weakened immune systems. While older children and adults can get Rotavirus infections,
these usually have no symptoms (asymptomatic) or are mild.

Prevention of Rotavirus

Immunisation with the Rotavirus vaccine is the best way to protect children from Rotavirus
and the dehydrating diarrhoea that it can cause.

This however should be done alongside improving water quality, hygiene and sanitation
to stop bacteria and parasites that cause other forms of diarrhoea. Our hands constantly
touch dirt as we work or interact with other people. We need to wash hands with soap and
clean water regularly to prevent all forms of diarrhoea.

Wash your hands with soap and clean water at the following critical times:

• After using the toilet or pit latrine
• Before preparing, serving, eating and after eating food
• After cleaning the baby’s faeces or changing the baby’s diaper/ nappy
• After handling blood, raw meat or uncooked eggs
• After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose
• After handling surfaces that many people touch such as doorknobs
• After touching/ cleaning animals, animal waste or garbage
• After touching/ counting money
• After shaking hands

Administration of the Rotavirus vaccine

• The Rotavirus vaccine is administered orally, i.e. through the mouth
• Rotavirus vaccine will be given in two doses: 1st dose at 6 weeks (1 ½ months) while
the 2nd dose is at 10 weeks (2 ½ months)

Safety of the Rotavirus vaccine

• It is approved by the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF
• It is SAFE, EFFECTIVE and FREE
• Millions of children globally have been given the vaccine safely
Most children who get the Rotavirus vaccine do not experience any side effects and the
benefits of the Rotavirus vaccine to prevent hospitalization and death far outweigh the
potential side effects.

Possible side effects of the Rotavirus vaccine

With a vaccine, like any medicine, there is a chance of side effects but they are rare and
usually mild. These may include:
• Irritability
• Mild temporary diarrhoea
• Vomiting
• Abdominal pain
• Flatulence
• Skin inflammation
• Fever
• Loss of appetite

Most children who get the Rotavirus vaccine do not experience any side effects and the
benefits of the Rotavirus vaccine to prevent hospitalization and death far outweigh the
potential side effects.

Roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders

Political leaders

• Mobilise communities for routine immunisation
• Sensitise communities on the benefits of immunisation
• Advocate for resources to strengthen routine immunisation
• Monitor immunization activities

Religious leaders

• Mobilise communities for routine immunisation
• Sensitise congregations and the communities on the benefits of immunisation

Cultural/Traditional leaders

• Mobilise communities for routine immunisation
• Sensitise communities on the benefits of immunisation

Civil society organisations

• Sensitise the communities on the benefits of immunisation
• Advocate for resources to strengthen routine immunisation
• Monitor immunisation services

Service clubs

Sensitise the communities on the benefits of immunisation
• Mobilise resources to strengthen routine immunisation
• Provide resource persons and equipment
• Empower communities to demand for immunisation services
• Strengthen existing social structures to mobilise communities for immunisation

Development partners

• Provide technical and financial support for immunisation activities
Media
• Sensitise the communities on the benefits of immunisation
• Disseminate timely and accurate immunisation information to the public
• Monitor and report on immunisation services
• Mobilise communities for routine immunisation

Professional bodies

• Organise in service training on immunisation
• Support the immunisation program by providing scientific evidence

Security (Army, Police, Prisons)

Mobilise their communities
• Provide resource persons and equipment
• Support the DHTs to follow up defaulters and resistant groups for immunisation

Mobilise their communities
• Provide resource persons and equipment
• Support the DHTs to follow up defaulters and resistant groups for immunisation

Line Ministries
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Local Government & Ministry of Gender Labour & Social Development

• Allocate resources from local revenue for immunisation
• Ensure utilization of the existing local structures (local councils, parish chiefs, sub
county chiefs, CDOs, health assistants, DEO) to strengthen mobilisation and advocacy
for routine immunisation

Key Messages

1. Rotavirus is highly contagious and cannot be treated with antibiotics or other drugs
2. Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of diarrhoea in children under 5 years
3. An estimated 10,637 children under 5 years of age die in Uganda each year due to
Rotavirus diarrhoea
4. Immunisation with the Rotavirus vaccine is the best way to protect your children from
Rotavirus and the deadly dehydrating diarrhoea that it can cause
5. The Rotavirus vaccine is administered orally, i.e. through the mouth, in two doses at 6 weeks (1 ½ months) of age and 10 weeks (2 ½ months) of age
6. Prevention of dehydration by providing timely ‘Oral Rehydration Solution’ (ORS) and
Zinc saves lives.
7. Immunisation against Rotavirus should be done alongside improving water quality,
hygiene and sanitation to stop bacteria and parasites that cause other forms of
diarrhoea.
8. All faeces, including those of babies and young children, should be disposed of in a
latrine. Make sure that all family members use a latrine to dispose of faeces. Where
there is no latrine, faeces should be buried
9. All family members, including children, need to wash their hands thoroughly with soap
and clean water after using the toilet or pit latrine, before preparing, serving, eating and
after eating food, after cleaning the baby’s faeces or changing the baby’s diaper/ nappy
10. Every child has a right to immunisation.

 

By WHO,Gavi & UNICEF

CategoryUncategorized

For emergency cases        +256 701 230413