Rotavirus Vaccine in Kenya

A sick Child

Almost every child suffers from at least one episode of diarrhoea and vomiting (gastroenteritis) as a result of rotavirus before they are five years of age.

The Symptoms of the Rotavirus Infection

  • Vomiting that lasts 2-3 days
  • Watery diarrhoea that persists for 5-8 days
  • Fever and stomach pains

The dehydration from the infection is so bad that your baby might require hospitalization. Additional home care is required due to the severity of the disease. It is also important to be cautious as other family members, especially children are at risk of being infected with the virus.

How Serious is Rotavirus?

Diarrhoea from rotavirus can quickly lead to dehydration. Dehydration can result in hospitalization and even death to children who do not receive the treatment in time.

To know whether your baby is dehydrated or not, check out for thirst, irritability, tiredness and restlessness.The child may also pass very little urine. In severe cases, you might notice sunken eyes, a dry skin, a dry mouth and tongue.

Malnutrition and inaccessibility to timely medical care increases the risk of life-threatening dehydration to many children in Kenya and Africa as a whole.

How is Rotavirus Contracted?

The Rotavirus infection is very contagious.  The virus can survive for at least four hours on hands, from days to weeks on solid surfaces, and for weeks in drinking water. It remains ineffective in human faeces for up to one week.

The virus is spread easily and quickly by:

  • Person to person contact
  • Drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food
  • Contact with contaminated surfaces

Children in Danger of Contacting the Virus

Children in daycare and in contact with other children are at risk

Parents and caregivers looking after an infected child as well as other siblings may become rotavirus carriers, passing it on to others.

The sad part is that as much as soap and clean water reduce the risk of spreading the virus, it does little to prevent your child from getting infected as it does not kill the virus.

Ages most affected by Rotavirus

Children between 6 months and 5 years are the most at risk of infection. The most severe cases occur in children who are less than one year.

Though the disease occurs thoughout the year, it is more common during the dry season.

How to Treat Rotavirus

The most important treatment is replacing the lost fluid by giving the child lots of drinking water.

Severely dehydrated children may need to be treated in the hospital to get the fluid and salt levels back to normal.

As much as rehydration is important, parents should remember that this only treats the symptoms and not the cause of the infection.

How to Protect your Child from Rotavirus

Good hygiene alone is not enough to prevent the spread of the Rotavirus.

The only real protection is vaccination. There is an oral vaccine offering early protection from rotavirus infection when it is needed most.

The vaccine will protect against the infection before the peak incidence of the disease in children, protecting against the potentially serious complications of severe dehydration.
Contact your cildren hospitla or clinic to learn more about how to protect your child from this deadly disease.

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