Rotavirus is a prevalent and highly contagious virus that trigger episodes of diarrhea and vomiting. It is responsible for causing severe diarrhea among young children ages 3-15 months. It is one of the viruses that causes gastroenteritis and quite common in developing countries.
How rotavirus spreads
- One individual to another particularly if one who has diarrhea who was not able to wash hands after a bowel movement.
- The infection can also develop if an individual touches their mouth after touching a contaminated object.
- Consumption of food or beverages contaminated by the virus
What are the indications?
The symptoms of rotavirus start with fever and vomiting and followed by watery diarrhea which lasts for 5-7 days. In case the lost fluids were not replaced, it can result to dehydration. Always bear in mind that dehydration can make a child listless and weak along with rapid pulse rate and a dry mouth.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor will not perform tests to detect rotavirus unless attempting to identify a potential outbreak. If needed, a stool sample is sent to a laboratory so that a rapid antigen test is carried out.
Remember that there is no specific treatment for rotavirus. Many children get better with bed rest and increasing the intake of fluids. As for severe cases, they require fluids administered intravenously.
Observing proper hygiene is the ideal way to avoid gastroenteritis. If a child is sick, he/she along with other family members must wash hands frequently.
There are 2 vaccines that are used to prevent rotavirus. The immunization for rotavirus is already part of the routine infant vaccinations. Depending on the vaccine used, 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine are given orally at ages 2 months, 4 months and 6 months or at ages 2 months and 4 months.