Rotavirus is a virus that can trigger gastrointestinal symptoms, causing stomach discomfort and diarrhea. It can result in diarrhea by disrupting the typical functioning of the intestine. It is a common infection among infants and younger children.
Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus and a common cause of viral gastroenteritis. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) notes that most children experience the infection by the age of 5 years.
Additionally, people who work with children, such as school workers, teachers, and day care workers, may need to consider if they have contracted the infection if they experience diarrhea symptoms.
The infection typically causes gastrointestinal symptoms, which
In this article, we will explore how rotavirus causes diarrhea, other common symptoms, and how to prevent it.
After ingestion, the rotavirus travels to the small intestine and invades mature enterocytes. These are absorptive cells that line the intestine and allow for nutrient absorption. In the mature enterocytes, the rotavirus multiplies, affecting the functioning of the cell.
According to a 2021 study, the rotavirus can penetrate the small intestine, leading to cell death within the intestinal lining. This can trigger several gastrointestinal symptoms, including loose, watery, and more-frequent bowel movements.
As a result of the frequent watery stools, a person with a rotavirus infection may experience severe dehydration. The NFID note that infants younger than 1 year in age are more likely to experience dehydration due to their smaller body weight.
According to the
Reports by the NFID indicate rotavirus diarrhea may look like loose green or brown stools, which are often foul-smelling.
Typically, people acquire the virus through the
In addition to watery diarrhea, other symptoms of rotavirus may include:
- abdominal pain
- extreme thirst
- dry mouth and throat
- crying with few or no tears
- reduced frequency of urination or fewer wet diapers in children
At present, healthcare professionals do not have a standard course of treatment for rotavirus. Instead, they will usually recommend
As such, a doctor may recommend the following measures:
- drinking plenty of fluids
- avoiding sugary foods and drinks
- eating small, nutritious portions of a balanced diet
- administering an oral rehydration solution that a doctor recommends
- getting adequate rest
At present, there are
Other tips to help prevent contracting or spreading rotavirus can include:
- washing hands frequently
- helping children wash their hands often
- limiting contact with people who are sick
- sanitizing surfaces in the house, including toys, doorknobs, toilets, and changing tables
- properly disposing of nappies
- keeping children home until symptoms improve
A rotavirus infection typically causes gastrointestinal symptoms, which can affect bowel movements and result in loose, watery stools. These symptoms occur due to the rotavirus traveling and multiplying in the small intestine, which disrupts bowel function.
Currently, there is no cure for rotavirus, but treatments, such as oral rehydration solutions, aim to control symptoms and prevent severe dehydration. However, a person may require emergency care if they experience severe dehydration.
To help prevent rotavirus infection, healthcare experts recommend practicing proper hygiene, sanitizing surfaces, and receiving vaccinations.