Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Vaccines Health Center

Font Size

FDA: Rotavirus Vaccines Safe Despite Pig Virus

After Millions of Doses, No Harm Seen From Pig Virus in Vaccines for Infants
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

May 14, 2010 - Both rotavirus vaccines given to U.S. infants carry tiny amounts of pig virus or pig virus DNA -- but due to the vaccines' strong safety record, the FDA says doctors should resume their use.

Last March, the FDA suspended use of GlaxoSmithKline's Rotarix when newly available techniques detected DNA from porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) in the vaccine. Further research found whole PCV1 virus in the vaccine -- and showed that DNA from both PCV1 and the related PCV2 were in Merck's RotaTeq vaccine.

Neither PCV1 nor PCV2 causes disease in humans. Millions of doses of the vaccines have been given to infants with no sign of significant safety problems. Since rotavirus can cause life-threatening diarrhea, and since the risk from the pig viruses is only theoretical, the FDA is lifting its precautionary suspension of Rotarix and encouraging continued use of RotaTeq.

Meanwhile, the FDA is working with GlaxoSmithKline and Merck to plan follow-up studies. GlaxoSmithKline is redesigning its vaccine to eliminate the pig virus; Merck has not yet announced its plan.

Children who receive the vaccines do not need follow-up. Pig virus and pig virus DNA was in the vaccine when it was tested in tens of thousands of infants during clinical trials. No safety issues arose.

Today on WebMD

Baby getting vaccinated
Is there a link? Get the facts.
syringes and graph illustration
Get a customized vaccine schedule.
baby getting a vaccine
Know the benefits and the risk
nurse holding syringe in front of girl
Should your child have it?

What To Know About The HPV Vaccine
24 Kid Illnesses Parents Should Know
Nausea and Vomiting Remedies Slideshow
Managing Immunization Schedules For Kids

Doctor administering vaccine to toddler
gloved hand holding syringe
infant receiving injection

WebMD Special Sections