Intussusception & Rotavirus Vaccine

Intussusception, a dangerous condition that causes “telescoping” of the intestines, has occurred in a small number of infants following administration of the rotavirus vaccine.

 Contact a Vaccine Injury Lawyer Today

The nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP is offering free, no-obligation legal reviews to families of infants who developed intussusception following rotavirus vaccination. To learn if your child might qualify for compensation, contact our vaccine injury lawyers by calling (888) 994-5118.

What is the Rotavirus Vaccine?

Rotavirus is a viral infection that causes severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. It spreads easily among infants and children, who may require hospitalization due to dehydration.

Two rotavirus vaccines are currently licensed for use in the United States, both of which are administered orally:

  • RotaTeq® (RV5) is given in 3 doses at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months.
  • Rotarix® (RV1) is given in 2 doses at ages 2 months and 4 months.

Around 90% of children who receive the rotavirus vaccine will be protected from severe infection. About 70% will have total protection from rotavirus.

The rotavirus vaccine is most effective when children receive their first dose before 15 months of age. All doses of the vaccine should be administered by the time a child reaches 8 months.

Intussusception from Rotavirus

Most children inoculated for rotavirus will receive the vaccine without any problem.

However, a small number may develop intussusception, usually within a week after the first or second dose.

Intussusception is a form of bowel blockage that occurs when the lower section of the intestine folds into itself like a telescope. The condition is the most common cause of bowel obstruction in children younger than 3.

Signs and Symptoms of Intussesception

Symptoms of intussusception in infants may include:

  • Signs of abdominal pain, including sudden, loud crying and pulling their legs up to the abdomen.
  • Stool mixed with blood and mucus (sometimes referred to as “currant jelly” stool because of its appearance)
  • Vomiting
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

Intussusception Complicaitons

Intussusception can cut off the blood supply to the intestines. Without treatment, this may cause the intestinal wall to die, or necrotize. This, in turn, may result in rupture of the intestinal wall, leading to a serious infection of the abdominal cavity lining called peritonitis.

Symptoms of peritonitis may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Fever
  • Cool, clammy skin that may be pale or gray
  • A weak and rapid pulse
  • Abnormal breathing that may be either slow and shallow or very rapid
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Profound listlessness

Intussusception Treatment

Parents who suspect that their child is suffering from intussusception should call their doctor immediately or take their child to the ER if they are unable to reach their doctor. In most cases, a radiologist can clear the blockage by using air or fluid to push the folded part of the intestine back into its normal position.

About 1/3 of infants who develop intussusception will need surgery to unfold the intestine. In a small percentage, the blocked section of bowel must be removed (called resection).

Compensation for Vaccine-Related Intussusception

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) provides compensation to those who have been harmed by vaccines.  To date, the program has paid more than $3.9 billion in compensation to victims of vaccine-related injuries, including infants who developed intussusception following administration of the rotavirus vaccine.

To learn of you might qualify to file a rotavirus vaccine intussusception claim with the NVICP, please call (888) 994-5118 to discuss your case with a member of our legal team.

  1. CDC (2016) “Rotavirus Vaccine”
  2. CDC (2017) “Questions & Answers about Intussusception and Rotavirus Vaccine”
  3. Mayo Clinic (N.D.) “Intussusception”
Last Modified: July 9, 2018

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