Rotavirus is a highly
contagious virus that can cause severe, frequent diarrhea, especially in young kids. Most
children who haven't been vaccinated
will get a rotavirus infection by the time they're 5 years old.
More to Know
In the United States, rotavirus infection outbreaks are common during the winter
and spring months. Outbreaks are particularly problematic in childcare centers and
children's hospitals because the infection spreads so easily.
Rotavirus symptoms can last from 3-8 days and include fever, nausea, vomiting,
abdominal cramps, and frequent, watery diarrhea.
A cough and runny nose may also occur. Some rotavirus infections cause few or no symptoms
at all, especially in adults.
The diarrhea from a rotavirus infection can be so severe that it quickly leads
to dehydration, especially
in infants and young children. If dehydration is severe, intravenous (IV) fluids given
in the hospital can bring the body's fluid and salt levels back to normal.
Keep in Mind
Most rotavirus infections can be successfully treated at home by giving a child extra
fluids, especially those with water and minerals. Avoid overly sugary beverages (like
pure juice or soda) as sugar can make diarrhea worse.
Frequent hand washing can prevent rotavirus infections from spreading. A rotavirus
vaccine is now included in the lineup of recommended routine
immunizations given to all infants.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical