Risks of rotavirus

Find out what the risks of rotavirus are and who is most at risk.

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The risks of getting rotavirus

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in:

  • infants
  • young children

It causes more than 500,000 deaths worldwide in young children each year. Such deaths in Canada are very rare.

In Canada and other temperate regions, most rotavirus cases happen in late winter and early spring.

Rotavirus outbreaks have been reported among:

  • hospitalized infants
  • elderly people in nursing homes
  • young children attending daycare centres

Severe rotavirus diarrhea among adults is rare in North America and occurs mostly in:

  • the elderly
  • those caring for children with severe rotavirus diarrhea
  • those with weakened immune systems (unable to fight disease easily)

Who is most at risk

In general, unvaccinated children are at greatest risk of infection.

Children with weakened immune systems are more likely to suffer from severe rotavirus diarrhea that:

  • is longer lasting
  • can be fatal

Vaccinated children are much less likely to:

  • get sick from rotavirus
  • have severe symptoms 

Even children who are vaccinated may get sick from rotavirus more than once.

For more information

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