Rotavirus Infection


What is a rotavirus infection? Rotavirus is a virus that causes inflammation of the small intestine. The infection can prevent your body from absorbing water and nutrients from food. Rotavirus can infect people of all ages but is most common in children younger than 5 years. Rotavirus can spread through coughing, food or water, or contact with the bowel movement of an infected person. Rotavirus can remain on objects, such as clothes or toys, for many days. The infection can spread when someone touches an infected object.

Who is at increased risk for a rotavirus infection?

What are the signs and symptoms of a rotavirus infection? Symptoms usually begin 1 to 3 days after a person becomes infected with rotavirus. The rotavirus infection can be spread 2 days before symptoms start, and up to 10 days after. Symptoms normally last from 3 to 8 days and may include more than one of the following:

How is a rotavirus infection diagnosed? Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. If you have diarrhea, tell your healthcare provider when it started, and how often it occurs. He may check you for signs of dehydration. A sample of your bowel movement may be sent to a lab to be tested for infection.

How is a rotavirus infection treated? A rotavirus infection may go away without treatment. You may need any of the following if you are dehydrated, or at risk for dehydration:

How can I help prevent the spread of a rotavirus infection?

Call 911 for any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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