Primary Care Doctor, General Practice

Rotavirus

Introduction to Rotavirus

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe vomiting and diarrhoea among infants and young children. In the UK there is now a compulsory vaccine for children at 2 months and 3 months old.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is the Rotavirus?

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe vomiting and diarrhoea among infants and young children. In the UK there is now a compulsory vaccine for children at 2 months and 3 months old to help prevent cases. Rotavirus causes gastroenteritis, which is an infectious condition characterised by vomiting and diarrhoea. If you believe you or your child has rotavirus you should take care to wash your hands thoroughly as to not transmit the virus because it is highly contagious.

What are the causes for the Rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a viral infection and it is transmitted by ingestion of faecal matter. The virus infects and damages the cells that line the small intestine and cause gastroenteritis often called the stomach flu or an upset stomach.

What are the symptoms of the Rotavirus?

Rotavirus gastroenteritis is not a serious disease, but if not treated adequately can become more severe. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhoea and a mild fever. Once a child is infected, there is usually an incubation period of a few days before symptoms appear. Symptoms normally start with vomiting, which is then followed by four to eight days of profuse diarrhoea. Dehydration is common in rotavirus due to the amount of fluid lost through the vomiting and diarrhoea. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness on standing, decrease in urination and dryness in the mouth and throat.

How is the Rotavirus treated?

There is no curative treatment for rotavirus, but the symptoms can be managed and with adequate hydration there are rarely any complications.

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