Last updated Rotavirus can cause gastroenteritis, commonly known as a “vomiting bug”. The NHS says rotavirus is a “common” cause for gastroenteritis and that although “most children recover at home within a few days”, about 2% end up in hospital for dehydration. [1] Rotavirus has also been blamed for hundreds of thousands of infant deaths world wide and 20-60 deaths a year in the USA before the vaccine was introduced. [2] Rotavirus can also be asymptomatic. The fact that diarrhoea is a leading cause of infant deaths in developing countries is no secret but clearly the risk in the West is minimal. Gastroenteritis can be caused by many organisms other than rotavirus and although official sources say rotavirus is the leading cause, how do they know? Doctors don’t generally test for it when a child comes in with diarrhoea, even in the developed world, let alone the countries where infant diarrhoea is a killer. In a study published in 2011, only 13.8% of children admitted to Jos university teaching hospital in Nigeria with acute diarrhoea were found to be infected with rotavirus. [3]
 A study published in 2004 examining children hospitalised in Poland for acute diarrhoea found that 16.1% were infected with rotavirus. [4] 
In Tunis during 2007, 25% of acute gastroenteritis were due to rotavirus. [5] However other studies have found higher rates. A French study published in 2000 found 37.1% of infants hospitalised for gastroenteritis had rotavirus in their stool. [6] 
A Polish study came to a rate of 29.6% [7] and a multi-centre study covering Austria, Germany and Switzerland came to 27-37%. [10] All these studies were done in hospitals, showing that rotavirus is a problem in hospitals. Indeed rotavirus infections are often acquired in hospital (so called nosocomial rotavirus infections). A French study published in 2007…

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