Prevention & Treatment
Prevention with Vaccines is Critical
Interventions that prevent other forms of diarrhea—such as improvements in hygiene, sanitation and drinking water—do not adequately prevent the spread of rotavirus.
- Rotavirus cannot be treated with antibiotics or other drugs.
- Prompt treatment with oral rehydration therapy (ORT) can be effective in treating mild infections.
- But many of the world’s poorest children do not have access to ORT, despite the fact that it is effective and inexpensive. ORT coverage is only in ~30% of places where the most diarrhea deaths occur.1
- IV fluids may be required if ORT is not administered, given too late or dehydration is too severe.
- Without access to treatment for the severe dehydration it can cause, rotavirus can be a death sentence.
Because of this, vaccination is the best way to prevent rotavirus disease and improve child survival.
A dehydrated child receives ORS at the ICDDR,B cholera hospital in Bangladesh. © Ansem Ansari, Courtesy of Photoshare
A global plan to reduce deaths to less than 1 in 1000 by 2025
- The Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) goes to the heart of the challenge: recognizing that prevention and control of pneumonia and diarrhea can only be tackled through integrated programs.
- The goal of the report from WHO, UNICEF and others is to reduce deaths from pneumonia to fewer than 3 children per 1000 live births, and from diarrhea to less than 1 in 1000 by 2025.
ROTA Council Recommendations
- To ensure integration with existing interventions outlined by the GAPPD, it is recommended that training courses be provided by national governments to update frontline health workers (physicians, nurses, public health professionals and community health workers).
- Educational authorities and academia should collect data to determine the extent to which information about GAPPD is incorporated within medical, nursing and other healthcare worker curricula.
1.Santosham, M., et al., Progress and barriers for the control of diarrhoeal disease. Lancet, 2010. 376(9734): p. 63-7.