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.

Updates to this page

Published 1 April 2013
Last updated 17 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Norovirus and rotavirus: summary of surveillance 2019 to 2020'.

  2. Added 'Norovirus and rotavirus: summary of surveillance 2018 to 2019'.

  3. Added the rotavirus infant immunisation surveillance laboratory request form.

  4. Updated with latest vaccine information.

  5. The 'Rotavirus: surveillance for the infant rotavirus immunisation programme' has been added.

  6. First published.