WHO/Europe works with Member States to accelerate the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine into their national immunization programmes and to establish a regional surveillance network to collect local data on disease burden and monitor the impact of vaccines.

Rotavirus infection affects nearly all the children of the world. By age 5 years, almost all children have been exposed to the virus, with more than a quarter experiencing a symptomatic infection. Rotavirus causes about 25% of all diarrhoeal illnesses in children under 5, and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally.

According to WHO estimates, more than 10 000 children under 5 die each year in the WHO European Region due to rotavirus infection. This infection plays a considerable role in countries where diarrhoeal illness causes significant mortality, although the disease can be prevented. In countries where diarrhoeal disease mortality is low, rotavirus infections are still common and carry large associated societal and health care costs.