To reduce the spread of rotavirus, wash your hands thoroughly and often — especially after you use the toilet, change your child's diaper or help your child use the toilet. But even strict hand-washing doesn't offer any guarantees.

There are two vaccines offered against rotavirus:

  • RotaTeq. This vaccine is given by mouth in three doses, often at ages 2 months, 4 months and 6 months. The vaccine is not approved for use in older children or adults.

    Although a few cases of intussusception — a rare but life-threatening form of intestinal blockage — were reported after vaccination with RotaTeq, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the number of cases in vaccinated children was similar to the number of cases in unvaccinated children and concluded that the vaccine didn't increase a child's risk of intussusception. A similar anti-rotavirus vaccine (RotaShield) was pulled from the market in 1999 because of an association with intussusception.

    If after vaccination, your child has stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in his or her stool, or a change in bowel movements, contact your doctor immediately.

  • Rotarix. This vaccine is a liquid given in two doses to infants at ages 2 months and 4 months. Clinical trials of the vaccine detected no increased risk of intussusception.
Mar. 27, 2013

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