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Parents have been warned highly contagious gastro could harm babies as NSW experiences the worst outbreak of rotavirus in five years.

“We’re a little over 1,200 for the year and we haven’t seen this many notifications since 2012,” said Dr Vicky Sheppeard, NSW Health’s director of communicable diseases, reports ABC news.

She said the highest rate of infection was in children aged two to four, and that metropolitan Sydney was the worst-affected area.

Admissions to the Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick were up, too, with babies and toddlers presenting with fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Rotavirus can be really serious, especially in the youngest infants, leading to severe dehydration and even death in some cases,” said Dr Brendan McMullan, a paediatric infectious diseases specialist.

The rotavirus vaccine is given to babies at two and four months as part of the routine immunisation schedule.

Dr Sheppeard said that in NSW 90 per cent of children received the vaccine but that it did not offer complete protection.

The vaccine also wore after a few years, she said.

What is rotavirus and how serious is it? via Dept of Health AU

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in infants and young children in Australia and worldwide.

The severity of the illness ranges from mild, watery diarrhoea of limited duration to severe, dehydrating diarrhoea with vomiting, fever and shock. Rotavirus infections are often more severe than other causes of diarrhoea, are more likely to be associated with dehydration and are more likely to require treatment in hospital.

Prior to the introduction of rotavirus vaccination in Australia, almost every child was infected with rotavirus by the age of 5 years, and there was approximately 10,000 hospitalisations due to rotavirus in children less than 5 years of age each year. In addition to hospitalised children, an estimated 115,000 children under 5 years of age visited a GP, and 22,000 children required an emergency department visit. On average, there was one childhood death from rotavirus each year.

Children can be infected with rotavirus several times during their lives, and without vaccination almost every child will suffer from at least one infection by the age of 3 years. The disease is easily spread from one child to the next. Confirmation of rotavirus infection can only be made by laboratory testing of faecal specimens.

Last year we shared the story from a Mother-of-three who previously refused to vaccinate her children soon changed her views after all her kids fell ill with rotavirus. Read her experience here.

Has your family been hit by this nasty bug?

Share your comments below

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  • Such a long and cold winter seems to have caused a lot of problems this year.

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  • My daughter and I had gastro a few weeks ago – agh!!!

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  • No-one in my family have been affected by this disease (touch wood).

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  • I find it hard to believe the statement saying that before the vaccine nearly every child had the virus. They admit that the vaccine does not completely protect children too. More important to keep your children healthy by giving them good wholefoods and no junk so their immune system can work efficiently.


    • Because natural immunity worked so well before vaccines right? All those poor children who were maimed and killed in the 60s and 70s before most vaccines became available lived healthier lives than most people do today but they still died. You find it hard to believe the actual facts about infection, hospitalisations and death rates before vaccines but you will happily believe all the total lies and misinformation spread by the incredibly greedy antivax movement who preys on the fears of parents. And not giving total protection is not a reason not to give it at all. Thats called the nirvana principle – I’m assuming you still use a seatbelt but they have a higher failure rate than the rotovirus vaccine. Your comments read like an antivax manual.

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  • another great reason to vaccinate! protect your little ones


    • It does not offer complete protection, so this vaccine is giving parents a false sense of protection, so you need to keep children healthy and clean hands regularly.

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  • Antivaxxers are so dangerous and ignorant!


    • This has nothing to do with what you call ant-vaxers, some concerned parents are worried about the amount of vaccines and the toxic ingredients. The article admits this vaccine does not give full protection. Stop blaming those who choose natural immunity.

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  • Scary – I can’t believe there’s still people out there who don’t want to vaccinate!


    • It may surprise you that there are parents with concerns about the amount of vaccines and the ingredients used. Look up ‘The truth about vaccines’ and it may shock you to realize there is a huge call to make vaccines safer, this is from those people who really care, the scary ones are those who do not question anything.



      • “The truth about Vaccines” has been proven repeatedly and by many independent bodies to be full of lies and misinformation and was made to assist the snake oil charlatans to push their wholefoods and supplements on a susceptible public.

    Reply

  • A lot of bad bugs going around this year, need to be super vigilant when you have little babies. We nearly lost our twins when they were newborns due to a bad virus.

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  • Wow, what’s going on this year? We haven’t had gastro (touch wood) and neither has any of our family or friends. We’ve all suffered some kind of cold (not flu) viral type infection that has hung around longer than usual. We just need to be aware and look after ourselves.


    • It has been quite a dreadful year for viruses and bugs and I hope that no one else loses their life and suffers loss.

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  • No – luckily we have not been hit with this scary virus.

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  • My eldest was hospitalised with this when she was 4 years old. It strikes so quickly and kids dehydrate so quickly too. It was very scary :(

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  • Hoping no other children are struck with this virus.

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  • not here either, everyone one is immunised so hopefully that is enough to protect us

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  • Thankfully my kids have been vaccinated and we seem to have missed it

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  • no we have missed it so far (touch wood!) but I know friends and their kids that have required hospitalisation for it this year.

    Such a horrible thing for a little one to go through – another good reason why people should vaccinate, why put your child through this?

    Reply

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