ABC Medical Center > Rotavirus

What is Rotavirus?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a highly contagious and resistant disease caused by a virus that infects the inner lining of the intestines and mainly affects babies and young children, because, although adults can be infected, the clinical signs and symptoms are usually less intense.

The World Health Organization estimates between about 600,000 annual child deaths worldwide from this infection, which is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis.

Rotavirus is spread through the feces of infected people, mainly due to poor hygiene habits, since the virus can survive for several hours on hands and for days or weeks on solid surfaces and textiles. It can also be transmitted through the consumption of food or water contaminated with the virus. 

Winter and spring are the seasons with the most rotavirus cases, therefore, epidemic outbreaks appear in places with a large concentration of infants, such as schools.

Rotavirus is quite common in infants and young children, as well as older adults and people who work in schools or who come into contact with children. It usually appears two or three days after infection. Vaccination and hand hygiene are the best way to prevent this disease.

Signs and symptoms Rotavirus

The severity of the symptoms and their evolution depend on the age and health conditions of the infected person, but the characteristic symptoms are:

  • Absence or decrease in urination.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Liquid and frequent diarrhea, which can cause dehydration, which is characterized by:
  • Tiredness.
  • Irritability.
  • Dry skin.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • High fever.
  • Nausea and vomiting. 
  • Cough without phlegm.

Occasionally, some rotavirus infections can cause mild symptoms, mainly in adults. However, it is always important to see your doctor to diagnose and treat it in time, do not put your life or your child’s life at risk.

Diagnosis and treatment Rotavirus

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms or your baby’s symptoms, he or she will perform a physical examination and request a stool test to confirm the diagnosis. If it is positive, it is essential to maintain as little contact as possible with the infected person. 

Being a viral disease there is no cure or specific therapy, the most important thing is to avoid dehydration while the virus completes its life cycle (approximately seven days). Your doctor will usually prescribe oral rehydration fluids to replenish lost minerals more effectively than plain water. 

Rotavirus can be treated at home, but if dehydration is severe, intravenous fluids may be needed in the hospital.

Babies usually do not tolerate liquids, so it is necessary to take them to the hospital for rehydration.


The best way to prevent rotavirus is to:

  • Get the vaccine, which is given orally, after six weeks of age. 
  • Proper hand hygiene greatly reduces the possibility of contracting the disease.
  • Constantly disinfect toys, surfaces, and utensils.

In ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Richardson-López CV, Bautista-Márquez A, Sánchez-Uribe E, et al. Population impact of rotavirus vaccination in Mexico after 10 years. salud publica mex. 2020;62(1):6-13.
  • Contreras-Treviño HI, Padilla-Noriega L. Regulación de la traducción mediada por la proteína NSP3 de rotavirus. TIP Rev Esp Cienc Quim Biol. 2018;21(Suppl: 1):124-133.

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