A vaccine to prevent illness caused by rotavirus will be introduced in the UK.

The news is based on a Department of Health announcement that the rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, will be added to the routine childhood vaccination schedule for September 2013.

Rotavirus is a highly infectious stomach bug that causes around 140,000 diarrhoea cases a year in under-fives in the UK. It leads to hospital stays for nearly 1 in 10 of those who get it.

The vaccine is expected to be introduced to infants under the age of four months.

It is estimated that the vaccine will halve the number of vomiting and diarrhoea cases caused by rotavirus and there could be 70% fewer hospital stays as a result.

The vaccine, Rotarix, is already used routinely to vaccinate children in the US and several other countries. In the US, rotavirus-related hospital admissions have fallen by as much as 86% since the vaccine was introduced. (Source NHS)

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