INCIDENCE of rotavirus disease in Ireland has fallen by 72% since the introduction of the vaccine in 2016.
Rotavirus is a very contagious virus that causes diarrhoea.
It is the most common cause of diarrhoea in infants and children worldwide, resulting in more than 215,000 deaths annually.
The HSE National Immunisation Conference yesterday heard that incidence of the illness has dropped dramatically since the introduction of the vaccine three years ago.
The number of cases of rotavirus infection reported in Ireland has fallen from 2,305 cases in 2017 to 636 cases in 2018.
“Most significantly, our latest reported uptake for rotavirus vaccine is 90% and that is how we have achieved this success,” said Sarah Jackson, Surveillance Scientist from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
“Rotavirus infection is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in children in Ireland under the age of five years.
“Most children will recover at home but some need to be admitted to hospital,” she added.
“Every year in Ireland, almost 1,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital with rotavirus infection.
“The average length of time they spend in hospital is five days,” added scientist Ms Jackson.