Rotavirus is a viral infection of the digestive tract. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children, especially those under two years of age. In fact, it is estimated that virtually every child will have already been infected once before his fifth birthday. Most children have several episodes of rotavirus infection in the first years of life, after which they acquire some form of immunity.
Symptoms: It takes about two days for symptoms to show after initial infection. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and watery diarrhoea, which generally persist for three to eight days.
Dehydration can be a complication of rotavirus due to the loss of fluids through vomiting and diarrhoea. As severe dehydration can be life-threatening, it is important for parents to recognise its symptoms and seek treatment immediately. Symptoms of dehydration include sunken eyes, lethargy, absence of tears when crying, a dry or sticky mouth.
Treatment: No effective treatments are available other than increasing fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Avoid giving the child milk products, as this may aggravate the diarrhoea further.
Prevention: A vaccine that works against rotavirus called Rotarix is available locally at major healthcare centres and clinics. It is also offered as part of your child’s immunisation package, although it is not compulsory to be vaccinated against rotavirus.
Singapore – HealthHub
India – National Health Portal