Disease, rotavirus
A leading cause of severe winter diarrhea in young children. Each year, rotavirus (RV) causes an estimated 500,000 doctor visits and 50,000 hospital admissions in the United States. Almost every child catches RV before entering school but, with rehydration (and good nutrition), nearly all recover fully. However, in poor countries RV is estimated to be responsible for at least 600,000 deaths of children under 5 years from RV diarrhea and dehydration yearly. Aside from causing acute infantile gastroenteritis and diarrhea in young children, RV infection is typically accompanied by low-grade fever. A vaccine against RV has been found to provide a high level of protection against severe diarrhea caused RV. A report to this effect appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 337, pp. 1181-7, 1997). The RV vaccine was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August, 1998. However, in July of 1999 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) jointly recommended that rotavirus vaccination be postponed until November, 1999. This recommendation was made as a precaution because of some reports of intussception (telescoping of the intestine resulting in intestinal obstruction) in infants who had had rotavirus vaccination. Rotavirus was discovered in 1973 and took its name from its wheel-

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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