Some Important Questions About Rotavirus

Rotavirus infection and diarrhea as a result is a common health problem throughout the world, especially for infants and young children. As a child grows up, he/she get immune to the rota virus infection and this is the reason adults generally do not suffer from rotavirus infection and if they suffer, the infection is generally mild (as most adults are already immune to rota virus).

Can I get rotavirus infection more than once?

Yes anyone can get infected with rota virus more than once. There are five different types of rota virus, namely rota virus A, B, C, D and E. Rota virus A is the commonest and account for more than 90% of rotavirus infections in us. You can get rota virus infection more than once because of different types of rota virus. But second and subsequent infections are mild in nature than previous infections. Individuals of all ages, including adults, in fact get repeated infection with rota virus, but due to strong immunity against rota virus usually do not suffer from serious symptoms, unless immunity is weak. Most rota virus infections in adults in fact do not have any symptoms.

How serious is rotavirus infection?

Rotavirus infections usually cause diarrhea, vomiting and fever in infants. Symptoms can lead to loss of fluid and electrolytes (dehydration) and if not corrected adequately and immediately, can lead to serious complications, which may cause death of infants. Fortunately management of rotavirus infection is simple in most cases and responds very well to ORS (oral rehydration salt/solution) therapy for correcting dehydration. If dehydration is corrected in time and adequately, the rota virus infection is mild and do not cause any complication.

Rota virus infection still causes millions of hospitalizations each year and causes more than half a million deaths (mostly infants and young children younger than 5 years) in developing countries. But, with proper treatment and vaccination, the disease incidence can be prevented and reduced.

How long a person remains contagious after rotavirus infection?

If a person is infected with rota virus he/she is contagious two days before starting of symptoms (diarrhea) and remains contagious for ten days from the day of starting of symptoms. During this period the person shed large numbers of virus particles in stool (up to 10 trillion virus particle in one gram stool) and may infect others. If a person’s immunity is weak (immunodeficient) he/she may remain contagious for up to 30 days after infection. If a person is not immune to rotavirus (immunity develops due to previous infection or due to vaccination) as little as 10 virus particles can initiate infection.

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