A new vaccination programme which will protect all babies against a highly infectious bug that is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea in children is to begin immediately, officials said.
The rotavirus vaccination programme will protect more than 675,000 babies from the infection, which causes diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and dehydration, Public Health England said.
All babies aged between two and three months will be vaccinated against the highly infectious bug.
At present, almost every child will have had the viral infection by the age of five. It is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in infants and very young children.
Most children recover at home within a few days, but nearly one in five will need to see their doctor, and one in 10 of these (around 13,000 children every year) end up in hospital as a result of complications such as extreme dehydration.
But experts predict that the move will lead to thousands of children being spared hospital stays and hundreds of thousands of GP visits.