Rotavirus vaccine can save thousands of children: Experts


DHAKA, Oct 10, 2018 (BSS) – Health experts in the country emphasized on making the parents aware about the vaccine of rotavirus that can save thousands of lives in the country.

The ROTA (Rotavirus Organisation of Technical Allies) Council in a report said about 2.4 million children, mostly aged 3 months to 2 years, get infected with rotavirus each year in Bangladesh.

Medical experts say, of the four viruses and bacteria-responsible for diarrhoeal diseases, the severity of rotavirus is uppermost. The patients will die, if quick treatment is not ensured.

Therefore, WHO recommends a two or three-dose vaccination depending on types of rotavirus vaccine, at six and 10 or 14 weeks to tie in with other routine vaccinations.

Vaccination is the best tool available today to protect children from rotavirus. Rotavirus vaccines are improving health, reducing healthcare costs, and saving lives today in countries where they are in use.

“Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhoeal disease and dehydration in infants and young children and can cause mild illness, hospitalization and even death. The symptoms usually occur 2-3 days after infection. The children are mostly affected with severe watery diarrhea, projectile vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain,” Director, Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control & Research (IEDCR) Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora told BSS.

There is no specific treatment for rotavirus infection, although oral rehydration therapy is recommended to prevent dehydration, she added.

It is responsible for nearly two-thirds of all diarrhoea-related hospitalisations under age of five and fifty percent of all rotavirus hospitalisations are among infants age 6-11 months, Senior Scientific Officer of IEDCR Dr A S M Alamgir told BSS.

The experts said, the treatment is totally different than other diarrhoeal diseases. There are some problems regarding the rotavirus vaccine. Its viruses constantly change and mutate, which is almost uncommon in other viruses. There are now two new rotavirus vaccines to prevent the disease.

According to the study IEDCR, the severity of rotavirus is still high in Bangladesh, though impact of other diarrhoeal diseases has reduced significantly in the recent days.

The affected children are found even in the posh localities apart from slum and rural areas. Normally, it enters into the body through mouth and then infects lining of the intestines. The virus can easily be spread through contaminated hands and objects, such as toys and diapers, according to the experts.

There are two different rotavirus vaccines. Both are given by putting vaccine drops in an infant’s mouth, they added.