Rotavirus is a contagious virus that can cause gastroenteritis, the inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Symptoms include severe watery diarrhea, often with vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Infants and young children are most likely to get rotavirus disease. Severe cases can result in dangerous dehydration levels and hospitalization may be required.
Rotavirus spreads easily among infants and young children. Children can spread the virus both before and after they become sick with diarrhea. People who are infected with rotavirus shed rotavirus in their feces. The fecal-oral route is, therefore, the most prominent mode of infection. Rotavirus can be spread by contaminated hands, objects or surfaces, food, or water.
Rotavirus disease is most common in infants and young children. However, older children and adults also can get sick from rotavirus. Once a person has been exposed to rotavirus, it takes about 2 days for the symptoms to appear. Serious cases include dehydration, which can be especially dangerous for infants and young children. Symptoms may include: