What is rotavirus?
Rotavirus is transmitted by the fecal-oral route. After an estimated incubation period of about 2 days, the illness starts suddenly, usually with fever and vomiting, followed by watery diarrhea that lasts between 3 to 7 days.1,3
What are the symptoms of rotavirus gastroenteritis?
Rotavirus causes a spectrum of illness ranging from asymptomatic infection to severe dehydration resulting from vomiting and diarrhea.2
Symptoms typically include watery diarrhea that can persist for 3 to 7 days, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. In some cases, diarrhea can be severe, leading to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and metabolic acidosis. Up to 1 in 3 children experience a fever greater than 102°F (39°C).2,4
Infants and young children are most susceptible to getting rotavirus infection, although it can affect older children and adults. Adults affected by rotavirus usually have milder symptoms.7
What are the risk factors for rotavirus infection?
Older adults and adults looking after young children are also more at risk of contracting rotavirus illness.4
In the US, the risk of getting rotavirus infection is highest during the winter and spring months.4
How is rotavirus transmitted?
Rotavirus is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, both through close person-to-person contact and fomites (inanimate objects).1
What is the incubation period for rotavirus?
Rotavirus has an estimated incubation period of 1 to 2 days, after which the disease can begin abruptly. Fever and vomiting often precede diarrhea.1
Which serotypes commonly cause rotavirus gastroenteritis?
Rotavirus strains are described by their G and P proteins, which define the serotype of the virus. The genotype is expressed in brackets after the serotype designation (eg, G1P1A). Often the strain is presented as G-serotype and P-genotype (eg, G1P).2,9
What makes the rotavirus G2 serotype different?
G2 is genetically distinct from other common rotavirus serotypes.11
G2 strains generally do not share either G or P surface proteins with other common rotavirus G serotypes.13
Can someone be reinfected with rotavirus?
Yes, children can be reinfected with rotavirus several times during their lives. Second infections are most likely to be caused by another G serotype.14
Are subsequent infections with rotavirus as severe as the first infection?
Subsequent infections are generally less severe than the first infection.14
How prevalent is rotavirus?
Severe dehydrating diarrhea caused by rotavirus is most common among children aged 4 to 23 months of age.1
Rotavirus infection in the US in the pre-vaccine era
In children <5 years and prior to 2006, rotavirus was annually responsible for2:
|>400,000 physician visits|
|>200,000 emergency department visits|
|55,000 to 70,000 hospitalizations|
|20 to 60 deaths|
CDC Disease Information
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