Rotavirus is an infection of the stomach and intestines. It is the most common cause of severe
in infants and young children.
Rotavirus can easily pass from person to person.
A rotavirus infection is caused by a specific type of virus.
The virus is passed through the stool of someone with rotavirus. The infected stool can pass the virus to hands, surfaces, objects, food, or water. The virus then enters the body when any of these infected items come in contact with the mouth.
People with the highest chance of rotavirus include:
Symptoms of rotavirus may vary from person to person but may include:
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. They often last about 3 to 8 days.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The infection may be diagnosed based on your symptoms. A stool sample may be taken. The sample will be examined for the presence of the virus.
There is no treatment for rotavirus itself. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics.
Some treatments may be needed for symptoms caused by the infection. For example,
may need to be treated with:
For children, the doctor may advise probiotics. Probiotics may help reduce the duration and severity of diarrhea symptoms.
Good hygiene is the best way to help reduce the spread of rotavirus. This includes taking the following steps:
There is a
to prevent rotavirus in babies. Your baby may need two or three doses between the ages of 2-6 months.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
US Food and Drug Administration
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
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http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/index.html. Updated May 12, 2014. Accessed November 3, 2014.
Rotavirus. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at:
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Rotavirus gastroenteritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 7, 2013. Accessed February 20, 2013.
Rotavirus vaccine access and delivery. PATH website. Available at:
November 3, 2014.
Rotavirus Vaccine Live Oral. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 8, 2014. Accessed November 3, 2014.
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Last reviewed December 2015 by Kari Kassir, 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 medical condition.
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