Rotavirus in India: Epidemiology

  • Rotavirus is a highly contagious viral agent, which directly target a person’s intestinal lining.
  • The most vulnerable population are children.
  • The virus causes a severe case of diarrhea.
  • The complication is dehydration or lack of water within the body.
  • The disease requires an immediate hospitalization.

Statistics in India

  1. Rotavirus in India is a major cause of all moderate to severe forms of diarrhea.
  2. Among children younger than 23 months, it accounts for 24%.
  3. Among children with ages between 24 and 59 months, it accounts for 13% (Nair et al. 1).
  4. In total, gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus affects 11.4 million children, who are under five-years-old.
  5. The disease causes 872 000 hospitalizations per year (Nair et al. 1).
  6. An epidemiological study from India suggests that rotavirus leads to more complications of gastroenteritis than non-rotavirus forms (Gupta et al. 5350).
  7. The table from the study showcases that the infection is statistically prevalent among ages 6-11.
  8. Despite the non-rotavirus groups being larger than the rotavirus one, the severity is equivalent and even greater in the latter.
  9. In addition, moderate severity is more common in the non-rotavirus group.
  10. Therefore, rotavirus is a major public health issue in India.


  • The main cause of rotavirus infection is the virus.
  • The most common form of transmission of the virus is through a fecal-oral contact.
  • Poor hygiene, such as improper washing of hands, is the main factor.
  • In addition, water and food contamination also contribute to the overall spread.
  • On rare instances, coughing and sneezing can also lead to the transmission (BCH).


  • The most effective preventative measure is vaccination.
  • Immunization prevents complications and infections among children, who are the most susceptible to the disease.
  • “In 2016, India became one of the first countries in Asia to introduce an indigenously manufactured rotavirus vaccine” (Malik et al. 5817).
  • The prevention also include governmental regulation and management of immunization process through proper surveillance and monitoring.
  • The study shows that the overall implementation of vaccination programs in India is not comprehensive.
  • Some regions are at different phases (Malik et al. 5820).
  1. Phase 1 – four regions – green.
  2. Phase 2 – four regions – blue.
  3. Phase 3 – one region – yellow.

Rotavirus in the World

  • It is important to note that rotavirus globally accounts for 125 000 000 or 125 million cases of diarrhea (BCH).
  • The mortality rate worldwide is around 600 000.
  • It is stated: “Rotavirus infection accounts for 39% of under-five diarrhoeal deaths globally and 22% of these deaths occur in India” (Nair et al. 1).

Rotavirus in the United States

  • Rotavirus causes around 55 000 hospitalizations among children per year in the United States (BCH).
  • However, the overall mortality rate ranges between 20 and 40 deaths per year (BCH).
  • In other words, the death rate is significantly lower in the US than in India, which is around 130 000.
  • In addition, the hospitalization rate is also higher in India factoring-in the population differences (Nair et al. 3).



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