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In poor countries, diarrhea can be deadly. In 2005, an outbreak of rotavirus, the most common cause of severe diarrhea in children, filled Nicaragua’s hospitals to capacity. Today, thanks to the widespread introduction of a rotavirus vaccine coupled with effective treatment techniques, the country's diarrhea wards are nearly empty.

In this slideshow, see how the vaccine, introduced with PATH’s help, has changed life for Nicaragua’s children and their families.

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Diarrhea is commonplace among children worldwide, but in developing countries it can be deadly. Many communities lack affordable ways to prevent diarrhea and treat potentially fatal dehydration.

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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In Nicaragua, young children now have a better chance at protection from diarrhea. With PATH’s help, the country is taking a multifaceted approach.

Photo: PATH/Mike Wang.

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In 2006, PATH helped the government introduce a vaccine against rotavirus, the most common cause of severe childhood diarrhea and a leading killer of young children. Now, babies receive the vaccine at birth—and the number of cases is dropping.

Photo: PATH/Mike Wang.

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Public awareness is critical for controlling diarrheal disease and preventing children from dying. A hand-drawn poster hanging on a clinic wall describes the symptoms of diarrhea and ways to avoid the disease.

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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As in many developing countries, children in Nicaragua often face unsanitary conditions and unsafe water that can harbor dangerous bacteria. Yet, their families lack access to lifesaving treatment.

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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One solution for protection against diarrhea: treated drinking water. Staff at a health clinic outside of Nicaragua’s capital produce and bottle sodium hydrochloride and deliver it to communities.

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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A few drops of the liquid can kill most bacteria in dirty water.

Photo: PATH/Mike Wang.

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Another tool for diarrheal disease control: oral rehydration solution, which rehydrates more effectively than water alone.

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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PATH helped train health workers in Nicaragua to use low-osmolarity oral rehydration solution. Patients like this young girl can now sip the solution at clinics to lessen the risk of dehydration.

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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Nicaragua’s comprehensive approach is protecting countless children each year. Here, six-month-old Luciano gets his third and final dose of rotavirus vaccine…

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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…and doesn’t like the taste of it. But it’s a dose of lifesaving protection that 80 percent of the country’s infants now receive.

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.

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By vaccinating children against rotavirus and offering new ways to fight severe diarrhea, Nicaragua is making important strides in protecting children and saving lives.

Photo: Miguel Alvarez.