DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

Moms Uninformed About Rotavirus Infection

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD
Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD

A survey of 600 U.S. mothers with children under the age three revealed that over 70% of mothers have read or heard little or nothing about rotavirus infection, the most common cause of diarrhea in young children throughout the world. Almost all children have had multiple rotavirus infections by the time they enter kindergarten. While the illness is normally self-limited and does not require special treatment, complications and even death can result from severe dehydration that can occur with rotavirus illness when supportive treatment (rehydration) is not given. Rotavirus infection is responsible for an estimated 500,000 visits to doctor's offices and 160,000 emergency-room visits among children each year in the U.S.

Rotavirus symptoms include:

Abdominal pain may also occur, and infected children may have profuse watery diarrhea up to several times per day. Symptoms can last from three to nine days. Immunity from repeated infection is incomplete after a rotavirus infection, but repeated infections tend to be less severe than the original infection.