What is Rotavirus?

What is Rotavirus?

What is Rotavirus?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Corvelva invites you to get in-depth information by reading all the sections and links, as well as the manufacturer's product leaflets and technical data sheets, and to speak with one or more trusted professionals before deciding to vaccinate yourself or your child. This information is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

Rotavirus is an undeveloped RNA virus that belongs to the Reoviridae family. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhea among children worldwide.(1)

Most cases of rotavirus occur in children between the ages of 3 and 35 months; however, older children and adults can also develop the infection.(2) Virtually all children become infected with rotavirus in the first five years of life. Infants younger than three months of age may not develop symptoms of diarrhea when infected with rotavirus because they have maternal-transferred antibodies that protect them in the first few months of life, including through breastfeeding.(3)

Rotavirus is very contagious. The virus is spread when individuals come in contact with the bodily fluids or feces of an infected person or with objects that have been in contact with the feces of an infected person.(4) The incubation period for rotavirus disease is about two days. Primary symptoms include vomiting and watery diarrhea for three to eight days. Fever, abdominal pain and loss of appetite occur frequently.(5)

The virus can live for hours on hands and days on hard surfaces. It is also very resistant to most disinfectants. In non-tropical climates such as the United States, rotavirus infections are more likely in the cooler winter months than in the summer.(6)

Laboratory tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis of rotavirus, because the clinical symptoms of the disease are similar to those caused by other pathogens.(7)

It is possible to become infected with rotavirus more than once, as neither the vaccine nor natural infection confers complete immunity to all strains of the virus.(8) Symptoms upon re-exposure to the disease are usually less severe because each additional exposure builds immunity.(9)

Providing adequate hydration to children with rotavirus infection is important to prevent dehydration, the most frequent complication of the disease. Symptoms of dehydration include tearless crying, dry mouth, decreased urine output, excessive sleepiness or irritability, and dizziness.(10)

This article is summarized and translated by National Vaccine Information Center.

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