Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among infants and young children. It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae. By the age of five, nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once. However, with each infection, immunity develops, and subsequent infections are less severe; adults are rarely affected. There are five species of this virus, referred to as A, B, C, D, and E. Rotavirus A, the most common, causes more than 90% of infections in humans.
What You Need To Know:
1. Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in children, leading to about 3 million cases of diarrhea, 55,000 hospitalizations, and 20 to 40 deaths in the United States each year. Rotavirus infections also lead to the death of over 600,000 children in the world each year.
2. Children do not develop complete immunity to rotavirus infections, of which there are several subtypes, so can get infected more than once, although repeat infections are usually milder than the first one.
3. A rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, is helping to decrease the number of rotavirus infections that children get.
4. Rotavirus isn't the only virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting in children. The norovirus, Norwalk virus, adenovirus, and many other viruses can also cause gastroenteritis. Bacteria and parasites can also cause diarrhea in children.
5. Since rotavirus is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, it makes not sharing cups, glasses, etc., washing toys, and strict handwashing essential, especially in daycare settings. And since kids can excrete rotavirus for several days before and for up to 10 days after their diarrhea begins, it is important to follow these precautions all of the time and not just when kids are sick if you really.