• Clinical science

Rotavirus infection (Rotavirus gastroenteritis)

Summary

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.

Epidemiology

  • A major cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children in the US (especially during the winter) [1]
  • Leading cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children worldwide, although all age groups are susceptible to infection.
  • Most commonly occurs in daycare centers and kindergartens

References:[2][3][4]

Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.

Etiology

  • Pathogen: Rotavirus is a nonenveloped, segmented, double-stranded RNA reovirus.
  • Transmission: fecal-oral route (e.g., by contact with hands, objects, food, water contaminated with the virus)

References:[5][6]

Pathophysiology

Clinical features

References:[3]

Diagnostics

  • Antigen detection in stool via enzyme immunoassay (EIA): a highly sensitive test that can be performed quickly and easily

References:[7]

Differential diagnoses

The differential diagnoses listed here are not exhaustive.

Treatment

References:[8]

Prevention

References:[9][10][11]