To assess the safety and immunogenicity of bovine rotavirus vaccine, we administered attenuated strain RIT 4237 to 54 inner-city infants randomized to one of three groups in a double-blind fashion to receive a dose at 3 and 5 months of age of either placebo, vaccine virus at 10(7) TCID50/ml, or vaccine virus at 10(8) TCID50/ml. Vaccination began in early fall 1984, and continued through spring 1985. Forty-nine infants received one dose of vaccine or placebo; 43 received both doses of vaccine or placebo. At 2 and 3 months after vaccination, homologous geometric mean neutralizing antibody titers were significantly higher in children who received either dose of vaccine compared with placebo recipients. Cumulative seroconversion to bovine rotavirus after either dose of vaccine virus was 87% at 6 months of age. Seroconversion was significantly higher (P less than 0.01) in both vaccine groups compared with the placebo group. No ill effects were associated with vaccine administration. RIT 4237 vaccine appears to be safe and immunogenic when administered to young infants living in the United States.