Indian infants, below the age of five, make for one-fourth of the total global deaths due to diarrhoea-related causes, experts here said on Wednesday.

“Of the 610,000 infants below the age of five years who die because of severe gastroenteritis or diarrhoea, nearly 152,000 are Indians. The disease burden of rotavirus associated diarrhoea is attributing to high child mortality rate in the country,” said Rohit Agarwal, president-elect of the Indian Association of Pediatricians at the launch of pentavalent rotavirus vaccine in the country.

RotaTeq vaccine, priced at Rs.900, is aimed to help children fight rotavirus gastroenteritis, also the cause of severe and fatal diarrhoea among infants below five years.

“India suffers from high disease burden of the rotavirus associated diarrhoea which also leads to high child mortality rate in the country. We are also in talks with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to introduce the vaccine in public health centres,” said K.G. Ananthakrishnan, Managing Director of MSD pharmaceuticals.

The vaccine has been approved in 98 countries of the world as per the prequalification status granted by the World Health Organisation.

Globally, rotavirus causes approximately 114 million cases of diarrhoea, while every one in 200 children below the age of five dies due to the virus in the country.