Rotavirus (Viral Gastroenteritis)
Rotavirus is a viral infection. It occurs in the digestive tract. In the US, it is the most common cause of severe
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The virus is passed easily from person to person. It starts with contact with infected stool. The virus is then passed by:
Hand-to-mouth contact Touching any object or surface that has come into contact with the infected stool
The following are at an increased risk for contracting rotavirus:
Children between the ages of 4-24 months Children who attend daycare or any public childcare setting Older adults who care for young children
Symptoms of rotavirus may vary from person to person. There may be no symptoms. They may also range from to mild to severe. Symptoms include:
Fever Vomiting Diarrhea
that lasts from 3-9 days
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include the following to confirm the diagnosis:
Rotavirus does not respond to antibiotics. There is no treatment for rotavirus itself. The virus may cause
, which may require treatments such as:
Rehydration fluids—includes children's drinks (eg, Pedialyte) to restore minerals lost due to the diarrhea Intravenous (IV) fluids—If dehydration is severe, IV fluids may be given at the hospital
Good hygiene is the best way to help reduce the spread of rotavirus. It is not 100% effective and does not kill the virus. To help reduce your chances of getting rotavirus, take the following steps:
frequently and thoroughly.
Always wash hands:
After using the toilet After changing a baby's diaper or helping a child use the toilet Before handling or preparing food.
for babies and young children.
Last reviewed February 2009 by
Igor Puzanov, 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
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