LONDON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- All infants at the age of 4 months in Britain are to be offered two doses of rotavirus vaccine, beginning next year, health officials said.
Britain's Department of Health said the virulent stomach virus can be so severe 10 percent need to be admitted to hospital, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
The virus is the main cause of stomach illness in young children and causes about 140,000 diarrhea cases a year in children age 5 and under.
Professor David Salisbury, director of immunization at the Department of Health of the United Kingdom, said it is estimated the vaccine will halve the number of vomiting and diarrhea cases caused by rotavirus and lead to 70 percent fewer hospital stays as a result.
"Rotavirus spreads very easily and affects around 140,000 children every year, causing distress for them and their families," Salisbury told the Telegraph. "Many people think of diarrhea as something that all children get and that you have to put up with. But there is a way to protect children from this.
"I'd encourage all parents of young children to accept this vaccine when the program begins next year."