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Call over tummy virus vaccinations

Experts claim that babies should routinely be vaccinated against viral tummy upsets as well as measles and other childhood infections.

A study examined the effect of giving the rotavirus vaccine to more than 2,500 children who were aged between six and 14 weeks in six European countries.

The gastroenteritis virus is the most common cause of diarrhoea in children under the age of five.

Two doses of the RIX4414 vaccine, given in pill form, were administered to the randomly-selected children along with their usual immunisation treatments.

Doctors monitored the children as well as 1,302 babies who received a nonactive placebo vaccine.

The researchers found that over a period of two years 24 vaccinated babies suffered severe gastroenteritis episodes compared with 127 from the placebo group - a vaccine success rate of 90%.

Writing in The Lancet, Professor Timo Vesikari, from the University of Tampere in Finland said: "Our findings confirm the high incidence of rotavirus gastroenteritis during the first two years of life and, hence, a need for long-term protection induced by rotavirus vaccination.

"Our study findings show that, if integrated into routine infant immunisation schedules, vaccination with RIX4414 could result in significant reduction not only of rotavirus disease burden but also of severe paediatric gastroenteritis during the first two years of life."

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The Lancet

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