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Rotavirus infection affects the digestive tract and is the most common cause of vomiting and severe diarrhea in babies and young children. Other symptoms include fever and stomach pain.
Rotavirus spreads when a child has oral contact with stool (feces) containing the virus. The infection can also spread if a child touches a surface with rotavirus germs on it and then touches his or her mouth.
A rotavirus infection in babies or young children tends to last for about 3 to 8 days. The infection usually goes away on its own. Sometimes rotavirus infection can lead to severe loss of body fluids (dehydration), which can be life-threatening. Preventing dehydration is an important part of treatment for rotavirus infection.
Rotavirus immunization is recommended for all babies. It helps protect against rotavirus infection.
Last Revised: July 9, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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