Breast Feeding is the Best Way to Control the Rotavirus Infection

The rotavirus is highly infectious, and the younger the person is, the more serious the symptoms of infection tend to be, but there is no specific medicine. So, novice parents should pay special attention to it in order to effectively prevent the threat of disease. Currently, according to a new study, there is a significant relationship between rotavirus prevention and breastfeeding, therefore, novice parents might as well start the breast feeding to make preparations to fight for the "battle" of prevention!

Breast Feeding is an Effective Way for Rotavirus Prevention in Infants and Children

Rotavirus is a kind of acute enteritis, and is most commonly found in children under 5 years of age. According to the relevant data, 90% of hospitalized cases of rotavirus in children under 5 years of age in China occur between 6 and 24 months of age, and 50% of them occur under 12 months of age. Child patients may suffer from varying degrees of dehydration, and in some cases, life-threatening encephalitis, intussusception or myocarditis. According to World Health Organization, hundreds of thousands of children die from rotavirus infections worldwide, accounting for 37% of deaths due to diarrhea.

Rotavirus is very dangerous for children, especially the infant, but the breast milk is an effective way to prevent it. It can be seen from several studies that breastfeeding has different degrees of impact on the occurrence of rotavirus diarrhea, the severity of clinical symptoms, and its clinical outcome[1].

Improve Immunity Resistant to Reduce the Risk of Infection

A large number of "immune" substances, such as specific and non-specific immunoglobulins, including immunoglobulin A (sIgA), IgM, IgG, macrophage, neutrophilic granulocyte, lymphocyte and active cytokines in the breast milk will greatly adjust the immunologic function of children, enhance their abilities to resist rotavirus, thus reducing the risk of rotavirus infection[2].

Protect the Intestinal Mucosa to Enhance the Antiviral Ability

In addition to building up resistance, the breast milk also contains the glycoprotein, glycolipid, glucosaminoglycan, mucoprotein and oligosaccharide, which can inhibit the binding of rotavirus to the corresponding receptors on the intestinal mucosa, providing protection to the intestinal tract of infants and children. According to relevant studies, benefiting from the lactadherin’s functions in regulating the activity of immune cells in the gastrointestinal tract and strengthening the body’s ability of rotavirus resistance, the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) in the breast milk can effectively reduce the incidence of rotavirus diarrhea or alleviate the diarrhea, thus facilitating the prevention and treatment of rotavirus infection[3].

Reduce the rotavirus complications and shorten the course of disease

Besides the functions of increasing antibody and protecting the gastric mucosa, the breast milk is fed directly without risk of contamination and has strong activity of various antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal antibodies, including the neutralizing antibody of rotavirus, so it can reduce the disease severity and shorten the course of disease. According to the relevant studies, the positive rate for rotavirus was 21.20% in breastfed children under 12 months of age and 75.70% in mixed-fed children[1]. Moreover, other studies have shown that the complications and severe illness from rotavirus are significantly lower in breastfed infants than these formula-fed[4].

Improve the immunity of rotavirus vaccine

The oral rotavirus vaccine is the most effective means of preventing rotavirus diarrhea for children. The study confirms that the better the vaccination results are for those who are first vaccinated earlier, who are most vaccinated and are breast-fed[5].

Oral Probiotics Make the Prevention Effect 1+1>2

Besides breast nursing and vaccination, oral probiotics are also an effective way to prevent and control the rotavirus. Especially for the non-breastfed infants or premature infants, the probiotics can strengthen their gut barriers against rotavirus. It can be seen from the studies that the oral administration of probiotics before and after rotavirus vaccination is effective in increasing serum IgA concentrations[6].

Probiotics as a kind of active microorganism can maintain the micro-ecological balance of the body, regulate the immunoreaction, and reduce the occurrence of infectious diseases and intestinal inflammation. According to the a large number of studies, the probiotics can reduce the duration and frequency of rotavirus diarrhea attacks, and enhance the immune effect of rotavirus vaccines. A randomized trial of rotavirus in Argentina found that children who take the oral probiotic yogurt (with Lactobacillus rhamnosus CRL1505) had a reduced probability of rotavirus infection up to 34%, with a significantly lower severity of morbidity compared to control group, which indicating that the lactobacillus rhamnosus can effectively strengthen the intestinal mucosal immunity and reduce the incidence of intestinal disease in children[6]. Moreover, there are also studies[7] found that bifidobacterium bifidum significantly reduces rotavirus infection, increases antiviral agents and enhances the body’s immunization activation.

Details of life determine success or failure of prevention

In addition to breastfeeding, timely vaccination and taking probiotics, it is more important to take precautions in the details of life. In some cases, although parents have taken overall preventive measures, the overlooked details of life will determine the success or failure of prevention.

● Pay great attention to children’s dietetic and environmental hygiene, and wash hands before meals, after using the bathroom, and when you return home.

● Children’s dishes and toys should be disinfected regularly.

● Please ensure to keep your child’s abdomen warm and do not let him/her eat cold foods.

● Make sure to keep a balanced diet to improve child’s immune system.

● Do not take children to crowded places, please open windows more often for ventilation.


[1] Shen Hui, Li Hai, Zhang Jun, Wang Bei, Gu Hongying, Effects of Breast Feeding on Infants with Rotavirus Diarrhea [J], Shanghai Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2003, (04)

[2] Luo Guoxing 1 Li Tingdong 2 Ge Shengxiang, Impact of Maternal Antibodies on Protective Efficacy of Rotavirus Vaccine [J], Chinese Journal of Microbiology and Immunology. 2017, 37(09)

[3] Yang Lingyun, He Zhenjuan, Zhu Jianxing, The Effect of Lactadherin in Human Milk on Protecting Diarrhea Induced by Rotavirus Infection [J], Foreign Medical Sciences (Section of Pediatrics). 2005, (03)

[4] Chen Ying, Effect of Breast Feeding on Inpatients with Rotavirus Enteritis in Children [J], World Latest Medicine Information. 2019,19 (84)

[5] Zhang Chao, Jiang Yi, Song Xianxiang, Lin Haibi, Guan Minchang. Research Analysis of the Effect of Oral Live attenuated Rotavirus Vaccination with LLR Strain in Children and the Influence Factors [J/OL]. Chinese Journal of Woman and Child Health Research: 1-5[2021-09-18]

[6] Tong Xiaodan, Ran Xuhua, Wen Xiaobo. Progress in research on immunomodulatory mechanism of probiotics against rotavirus infection [J]. Chinese Journal of Biologicals, 2020, 33(06) 719-721+724

[7] Heli Majamaa et al. Lactic Acid Bacteria in the Treatment of Acute Rotavirus Gastroenteritis[J]. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 1995, 20(3) : 333-338