Rotavirus - Describe Your Experience

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What is rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a virus that infects the bowels, causing a severe gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and bowels). Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children throughout the world and causes the death of about 500,000 children worldwide annually. The name rotavirus comes from the characteristic wheel-like appearance of the virus when viewed by electron microscopy (the name rotavirus is derived from the Latin rota, meaning "wheel").

Since 2006, vaccination has been available for rotavirus infection. Prior to the availability of a vaccine, almost all children became infected with rotavirus by their third birthday. Repeat infections with different viral strains are possible, and most children had several episodes of rotavirus infection in the first years of life. After several infections with different strains of the virus, children acquire immunity to rotavirus. Babies and toddlers between 6-24 months of age are at greatest risk for developing severe disease from rotavirus infection. Adults sometimes become infected, but the resulting illness is usually mild.

Worldwide, rotavirus infection is still a significant cause of death in infants and children. Rotavirus affects populations in all socioeconomic groups and is equally prevalent in industrialized and developing countries, so differences in sanitation practices or water supply are not likely to affect the incidence of the infection.

In the U.S., rotavirus infections usually peak in the fall months in the Southwest and spread to the Northeast by spring, so infections are most common during the winter months from November to May. However, infection with rotavirus can occur anytime of the year.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Dara, 0-2 Female (Caregiver) Published: December 23

My daughter who is 2 years old was diagnosed with rotavirus 7 days ago. She vomited twice and had diarrhea three times, all in the course of two hours. I took her to the emergency room since she started to look pale and weak. They gave her IV and took blood samples whereby she was diagnosed with rotavirus. This stuff is no joke. She is still sick today and I'm taking her back to the doctor tomorrow since her medicine has run out. She had no fever and thankfully her diarrhea is only 4 times a day maximum. Even then she lost 2 pounds in the first 2 days of being sick. So if your kid starts to vomit and have diarrhea, better ask for blood or stool samples to be taken. Luckily, my daughter has had the rotavirus vaccine prior to this, so it's not as bad as some of the other cases. But still, it's worrying for a mom.

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Comment from: Holly, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 15

I caught rotavirus from the kids I work with. Day one was extreme fatigue, followed that evening by muscle aches and fever. No head symptoms (sore throat, congestion) whatsoever, which made me realize this wasn't the usual flu. Nausea started that evening and continued for several days. By that evening and the following day I couldn't even try to prepare food without almost vomiting from the sight of it. For the next few days I couldn't get out of bed, or eat. I couldn't move without horrendous stomach pain and have never felt so tired and weak. Watery diarrhea didn't set in until the last few days. I lost about 5 pounds from the experience.

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