What is Rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a virus that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. Diarrhea and vomiting can lead to serious dehydration (loss of body fluid). If dehydration is not treated, it can be deadly. The rotavirus vaccine protects against this illness.

Who can get Rotavirus?

It affects mostly babies and young children.

What are the symptoms of Rotavirus?

Rotavirus causes the following:

  • Fever
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain

Diarrhea and vomiting may last for 3 to 8 days. Children may stop eating and drinking while they are sick.

How is Rotavirus spread?

  • Rotavirus spreads easily. The virus is in the stool (feces) of people who are infected with the virus. It is spread by hands, diapers, or objects like toys, changing tables, or doorknobs that have a small amount of the stool on them. The disease commonly spreads in families, hospitals, and child care centers.
  • Rotavirus is a tough virus. It can live on objects for several days unless it is killed by a disinfectant (cleaner that kills germs). It is very hard to prevent rotavirus with just hand washing and cleaning with a disinfectant.
  • Vaccination is the best way to keep children safe from rotavirus.

How long is a person contagious?

Infected persons shed large amounts of virus in their stool beginning 2 days before the onset of diarrhea and for up to 10 days after onset of symptoms. Rotavirus may be detected in the stool of persons with an immune deficiency for more than 30 days after infection.

Are there complications of Rotavirus?

Rotavirus infection in infants and young children can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration. The dehy‚Äčdration may be severe.  Immunodeficient children may have more severe or persistent disease.

Is there treatment for Rotavirus?

Children are typically treated by replacing lost body fluids through drinking liquids specifically made for rehydration; these liquids are called oral rehydration solutions. These products contain specific amounts of water, sugars, and salts. In severe cases, body fluids are replaced with fluids given directly through the veins by use of an intravenous line in the hospital.

Always Practice Healthy Habits:

  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, or turn away when coughing.
  • Immediately throw away used tissues, followed by careful hand washing.
  • Avoid sharing objects if they have been in the mouth (pacifiers, toys, silverware, etc.); wash objects in hot, soapy water between use.

Wash your hands with soap and water after coughing, sneezing or touching common surfaces like door knobs, keyboards and telephones. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.