- Clinical science
Rotaviruses are a common cause of viral gastroenteritis in infants and young children and are transmitted via the fecal-oral route. After a short incubation period of one to three days, patients present with vomiting, watery diarrhea, high-grade fever, and malaise. Diagnosis is established through antigen detection in stool. Treatment is supportive and mainly involves replacing fluids, although infection may be prevented altogether by vaccination.
Infants and young children are most often affected, although all age groups are susceptible to infection.
- Primary cause of acute diarrhea in preschool children during winter
- A leading cause of severe diarrhea (> 10 loose, watery stools within 24 hours) in infants and children
- Rotavirus infections are a major cause of death among children in developing countries.
Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.
- Antigen detection in stool via enzyme immunoassay (EIA): a highly sensitive test that can be performed quickly and easily
The differential diagnoses listed here are not exhaustive.
- Rotavirus vaccination (a live attenuated vaccine) is recommended unless there is a contraindication. Contraindications include:
- Dose 1: 2 months of age
- Dose 2: 4 months of age
- Dose 3: 6 months of age (if required)