What Is Rotavirus?

Rotavirus is an extremely common and easy-to-catch virus that can lead to serious consequences. It causes an illness of the intestines called gastroenteritis.

Rotavirus symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and fever

Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhea in young children. If your baby gets sick with rotavirus, symptoms may come on suddenly and usually begin with fever, vomiting, and upset stomach, followed by watery diarrhea that can last from 3 to 9 days.

Many rotavirus cases are relatively mild while some are severe. In a severe case, a child may vomit or have diarrhea more than 20 times in a day. Because your baby is so small, these symptoms can quickly lead to a loss of body fluids called dehydration.

In some cases, dehydration can be life threatening. An infant or toddler may need to be treated for dehydration with intravenous (IV) fluids in a hospital.

Some cases of rotavirus can be treated at home. The child is given fluids to replace those lost through diarrhea and vomiting. Severe vomiting, however, can make this difficult.

Call your health care professional immediately if your child shows signs of a rotavirus infection.

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