Rotavirus infections are one of the most common causes of diarrhea.
- Rotavirus infections are very contagious, often affecting infants and young children. It can be an especial problem in child-care centers and children's hospitals.
- It's one of the most common causes of diarrhea in children ages 3 months to 2 years.
- Almost all children have had a rotavirus infection by the time they are 5 years old.
Rotavirus infection symptoms
- Children with a rotavirus infection have fever, nausea, and vomiting, abdominal cramps and frequent, watery diarrhea.
- Infected children can also have a cough and runny nose.
- As with many viruses, children can pass rotavirus infections to others before having symptoms themselves.
Rotavirus infections can be very serious.
- Severe cases of infection, rotavirus gastroenteritis, are the leading cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhea in infants and young children.
- Dehydration can be very serious and can require immediate medical intervention or hospitalization.
- Few in the U.S. die from rotavirus infections, but worldwide it is responsible for half a million deaths a year, mostly in developing countries.
Symptoms of dehydration
- Dry mouth and tongue
- Dry skin
- Sunken eyes
- Fewer trips to the bathroom
- A dry diaper for several hours
Good hygiene and sanitation can prevent the spread of rotavirus infection.
- Rotavirus infection is spread through the stool of an infected person. Children can become infected if they put their fingers in their mouths after touching an unsanitary surface.
- Contamination usually happens when children forget to wash their hands before eating and after using the toilet.
- Frequent handwashing for adults and parents is an effective way to prevent rotavirus infections and other infections that can appear in settings like day care centers.