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.
- A major cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children in the US (especially during the winter) 
- 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
Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.
- 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)
- Incubation period: 1–3 days
- Fever, malaise
- Abdominal pain
Vomiting and watery diarrhea
- Can be severe: > 10 loose, watery stools within 24 hours
- Usually lasts 3–7 days
- Mild to severe dehydration: See .
- 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 for all infants 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)