Rotavirus is an infection of the stomach and intestines. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young children.
Rotavirus can easily pass from person to person.
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A rotavirus infection is caused by a specifc type of virus.
The virus is passed through the stool of someone with rotavirus. The infected stool can pass the virus to hands, surfaces, objects, food, or water. The virus then enters the body when any of these infected items come in contact with the mouth.
People with the highest chance of rotavirus include:
Symptoms of rotavirus may vary from person to person but may include:
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. They often last about 3 to 8 days.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may be able to diagnose the infection based on your symptoms. A stool sample may be taken. The sample will be examined for the presence of the virus.
There is no treatment for rotavirus itself. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics.
Some treatments may be needed for symptoms caused by the infection. For example, dehydration may need to be treated with:
Good hygiene is the best way to help reduce the spread of rotavirus. This includes, taking the following steps:
There is a vaccine to prevent rotavirus in babies. Your baby may need two or three doses between the ages of 2-6 months.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
US Food and Drug Administration
About Kids Health
Rotavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/index.html . Updated October 28, 2010. Accessed February 20, 2013.
Rotavirus. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/vaccine-preventable-diseases/Pages/Rotavirus.aspx . Updated January 16, 2012. Accessed February 20, 2013.
Rotavirus gastroenteritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what . Updated February 7, 2013. Accessed February 20, 2013.
Rotavirus vaccine access and delivery. PATH website. Available at: http://sites.path.org/rotavirusvaccine/ . Accessed February 20, 2013.
Rotavirus Vaccine Live Oral. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what . Updated January 25, 2013. Accessed February 20, 2013.
12/14/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Leder K, Sinclair M, Forbes A, Wain D. Household clustering of gastroenteritis. Epidemiol Infect . 2009;137(12):1705-1712.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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