Understanding the Common Cause of Diarrhoeal Disease in Infants and Young Children

2023-04-07 11:35:36 By : Mr. Wisen Wu
: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

Rotavirus is a highly infectious disease that primarily affects infants and young children, causing diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rotavirus is responsible for an estimated 128,500 deaths annually among children under five years of age globally.
Rotavirus - Wikipedia

In this blog, we will discuss the symptoms, prevention, and treatment options available for rotavirus.

Symptoms of Rotavirus

The hallmark symptom of rotavirus infection is gastroenteritis, which is characterized by severe diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. The virus targets the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Infants and young children may also experience dehydration due to fluid loss caused by diarrhea and vomiting.

Other symptoms of rotavirus may include:

- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue
- Irritability
- Headache
- Muscle aches

Symptoms of rotavirus typically appear within 2-3 days of infection, and the illness can last up to 8 days.

Preventing Rotavirus

Rotavirus spreads through the faecal-oral route, meaning it is transmitted through contaminated feces. The virus can survive on surfaces for several hours and is easily transmitted through contact with infected individuals, contaminated objects, or contaminated water.

The most effective way to prevent rotavirus is through vaccination. The rotavirus vaccine is given in two or three doses, starting at 2 months of age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rotavirus vaccine has been shown to be highly effective at preventing severe rotavirus disease and hospitalizations.

In addition to vaccination, practicing good hygiene is essential in preventing the spread of rotavirus. This includes:

- Handwashing with soap and water after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before preparing food
- Disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with rotavirus
- Avoiding contact with individuals who are sick with rotavirus
- Drinking only safe, clean water

Treatment for Rotavirus

There is no specific antiviral treatment for rotavirus. Instead, treatment is focused on managing the symptoms and preventing complications such as dehydration.

Treatment options for rotavirus may include:

- Oral rehydration therapy (ORT): ORT involves giving the child a solution of water and essential electrolytes and nutrients to prevent dehydration.
- Zinc supplements: Zinc supplements have been shown to reduce the duration and severity of rotavirus illness in children.
- Anti-nausea medication: Anti-nausea medication may be prescribed to help control vomiting.
- Hospitalization: In severe cases, hospitalization may be required to provide fluids and electrolytes intravenously.


Rotavirus is a highly contagious disease that primarily affects infants and young children, causing gastroenteritis, dehydration, and other complications. The best way to prevent rotavirus is through vaccination, good hygiene, and avoiding contact with infected individuals.

If you or your child are exhibiting symptoms of rotavirus, seek medical attention immediately. Treatment options can help manage symptoms and prevent complications. With proper care, most children will recover from rotavirus without any long-term complications.