Rotavirus

VirusRotavirus

VaccineRotavirus Vaccine (RV)

Transmission

Rotavirus lives on the surfaces of objects. The way that rotavirus gets on to the surfaces of infected items isn’t pretty. The virus lives in the intestines, and then passes itself on to its next victim via a sick person’s bowel movement. This means that through improper hand washing, infected stool makes its way onto surfaces, and then once the infected surface is touched by a child (or anyone) and the child puts his fingers into his mouth, that child also becomes infected. Hey, I’m just going to say it: to get infected you must ingest poop. What an utterly horrible thought!

Symptoms

Should your child pick up this nasty virus you might notice some or all of these symptoms:

  1. Fever
  2. Nausea and vomiting followed by abdominal cramps
  3. Frequent and watery diarrhea.
  4. Cough
  5. Runny nose

Who is at Risk:

Infants/small children and those who remain unvaccinated.

Possible Complications

Often times the diarrhea caused by the rotavirus is so severe that the child will become dehydrated (extreme loss of fluids) very quickly. The signs that your child has become severely dehydrated are:

  • Incredible thirst
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy (just “sick-looking”, laying around, low energy)
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth/tongue/skin
  • Dry diaper for several hours or less frequent trips to the bathroom for older children

Should your child develop extreme dehydration, it would be safe to assume he may be spending the night or longer in the hospital getting IV fluids. In fact, the rotavirus is the culprit for 55,000 cases of hospitalizations for diarrhea-related dehydration in children under five each year in the United States.2  

Pregnancy/Unborn Child/Newborn Risk:

If you get rotavirus while pregnant you must do your best to not get dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, preterm labor, miscarriage, or even maternal death.

Same goes for small babies; watch for signs of dehydration.

Prevention:

Hand washing!!!

Vaccination, which is given to baby orally. No injection! For more on the vaccine, click here.

Treatment:

There are no antiviral drugs used to treat rotavirus.

Prognosis:

Almost everyone who gets the rotavirus will recover from it completely, however severe dehydration can lead to complications and death.

 

Resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov
  2. Kids Health. www.kidshealth.org
  3. NPS Medicinewise. www.NPS.org

Pictures are Vaccine Mom original art.

 

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