A rotavirus infection is caused by a specific type of virus.
The virus is passed through the stool of someone with rotavirus. The infected stool can pass the virus to hands, surfaces, objects, food, or water. The virus then enters the body when any of these infected items come in contact with the mouth.
There is no treatment for rotavirus itself. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics.
Some treatments may be needed for symptoms caused by the infection. For example, dehydration may need to be treated with:
- Rehydration fluids—such as an oral rehydration solution for children
- IV fluids—if dehydration is severe
For children, the doctor may advise probiotics. Probiotics may help reduce the duration and severity of diarrhea symptoms.
Good hygiene is the best way to help reduce the spread of rotavirus. This includes taking the following steps:
- Wash your hands often.
- If someone in your house has rotavirus, encourage everyone to wash their hands more often.
Always wash your hands:
- After using the toilet
- After changing a baby's diaper or helping a child use the toilet
- Before handling or preparing food
There is a vaccine to prevent rotavirus in babies. Your baby may need two or three doses between the ages of 2-6 months.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
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About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
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