Protect your baby from gastroenteritis

Protect your baby from gastroenteritis

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More than 50 000 hospitalizations each year, from 14 to 39 deaths. Gastroenteritis are a scourge in France too. But simple hygiene measures can limit the contagion not to contaminate her child. And even two vaccines are now available. To protect the baby’s health, follow the guide.

3.3 million consultations each year concern in France gastroenteritis. Or 500 cases per 100 000 inhabitants. ? But 18% are children under 5, representing only 6% of the population!

Children in first line

Virus Diarrhea Children under five are the first concerned. 300 000 diarrhea episodes related to children each year, resulting in 138,000 physician visits. And if we look by age, children 5 to 12 months are most concerned. But it is precisely one year before that the most severe gastroenteritis is observed. Acute forms are also responsible for 50,000 hospitalizations per year, a pediatric hospitalization of 10! Worse, there are between 14 and 39 deaths each year in France. For these gastroenteritis and fever and vomiting that accompany them generally, are causing serious severe dehydration. On the scale of Europe, it is a child per day that dies of gastroenteritis. Certainly, it is far from 1400 deaths per day associated with gastroenteritis in poor countries.

Rotavirus: the culprit?

There are several possible causes for diarrhea in children, including bacteria and viruses. The main culprit is also the Rotavirus. 100% of children meet this pathogen, responsible for 40% of cases of gastroenteritis. Excluding this virus is very contagious, transmission occurs by dirty hands.

The average duration of infection with rotavirus is between three to nine days. And this is the first encounter with the virus that is the most dangerous, and often the most serious. Because after that first meeting the child is usually immune.

Prevent foremost

We know the contributing factors that lead to HIV transmission of diarrhea. These are collective childcare, exchange toys with other children, dirty fingers in the mouth, handling diapers … it is difficult to limit these factors, because baby does not live in a bubble. But we can already insist on hygiene and cleanliness in the home. Systematic washing hands after using the toilet, before eating … We have to clean: the virus is very resistant to air and can survive several days.

respond well

If your baby has severe diarrhea, what to do? Take immediately go to the doctor who will assess the severity of the disorder. And monitor constantly baby. Because sometimes dehydration is very fast: in a few hours in the day baby can lose a lot of water and is found in a serious condition. Sometimes the stool is liquid so that parents do not realize, even believing he just urinated in his bed. Should be monitored and not hesitate to take him to the emergency room for doubt.

A vaccine to protect

To note, a new weapon today can prevent gastroenteritis: vaccination. The first vaccine was released in late May 2006 Rotarix ® (beware, nothing to do with the Rotashield available there about ten years in the United States but to cause many side effects that we do withdraw from market). This protects 70% of babies in two oral doses given 15 days apart (no bites!).

It is important to make the vaccination before the 6th month to protect against severe gastroenteritis: around 2, 3 or 4 months. Its price is extremely high: 68.90 Euros LA dose (it takes two), outstanding and more by social security (the application is running). Why such a high price? In the laboratory, it is to amortize the cost of the major clinical trial of the vaccine (100 000 infants vaccinated worldwide). But the process is ethical for the laboratory: it is to pay more in rich countries, to make it more accessible in poor countries. It is true that there access to the vaccine is crucial for preventing hundreds of thousands of deaths.


The other vaccine is released it in January 2007: the RotaTeq, also drinkable form. Unlike Rotarix which concerns only one strain of virus, it protects against five different types, increasing protection to more than 90%. Clinical studies involving more than 70,000 infants have shown that the vaccine was well tolerated and reduced severe forms of illness and hospitalizations related thereto 98%. Not to mention the severity, 75% of gastroenteritis (serious and less serious) that are prevented by the vaccine. Side effects  of acute diarrhea is rare, there is sometimes a slight fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Only drawback, it is a little over 50 euros … again not reimbursed by health insurance.


Attention in all cases, vaccination do not fully protect babies and relevant viruses are not responsible for all gastroenteritis: baby vaccinated nevertheless a risk of acute diarrhea. Vigilance and prevention are therefore a must!

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