The Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), the largest study on diarrheal disease in developing countries to date, confirmed rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrheal diseases among infants. The study involved more than 20,000 children from seven sites across Asia and Africa, and found that approximately one in five children under the age of two suffer from moderate-to-severe diarrhea each year, which greatly increased children’s risk of death and led to stunted growth.

Because more than 90 percent of rotavirus deaths occur in developing countries, where access to treatment for severe diarrhea is out of reach for many children, the GEMS findings highlight the critical role of rotavirus vaccines in preventing child sickness and death.