Rotavirus: guidance, data and analysis

The characteristics, diagnosis, surveillance and epidemiology of rotavirus.

Rotavirus causes gastroenteritis. The symptoms include severe watery diarrhoea, usually with vomiting, fever, and stomach cramps.

Infants and young children are most at risk of rotavirus disease, as they can become severely dehydrated and may require hospitalisation. The symptoms usually last from 3 to 8 days. Adults may become infected but repeat infections are generally less severe than infections during childhood.

Rotavirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in infants and very young children. A rotavirus vaccine was introduced to the national vaccination schedule for babies in 2013, alongside other routine childhood immunisations. Babies receive 2 doses of vaccine at 8 and 16 weeks of age. The amount of rotavirus among infants has declined following use of the vaccine.

More information about rotavirus is available from the NHS website.





Rotavirus immunisation information for public health professionals.

  1. Rotavirus: the green book, chapter 27b
  2. UK immunisation schedule: the green book, chapter 11
  3. Complete routine immunisation schedule
  4. Protecting your baby against rotavirus - leaflet
  5. Protecting your baby against rotavirus - flyer
  6. Rotavirus Q&As for healthcare practitioners
  7. Rotavirus training slideset
Published 1 April 2013
Last updated 18 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Norovirus and rotavirus: summary of surveillance 2018 to 2019'.
  2. Added the rotavirus infant immunisation surveillance laboratory request form.
  3. Updated with latest vaccine information.
  4. The 'Rotavirus: surveillance for the infant rotavirus immunisation programme' has been added.
  5. First published.