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Rotavirus, a Diarrhea-Causing Virus That Puts Children at Risk

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Sehat · Updated Jun 20, 2022

Rotavirus, a Diarrhea-Causing Virus That Puts Children at Risk

The word rotavirus is a term that not everyone is familiar with. In fact, not many know that rotavirus is a type of virus that can cause gastrointestinal infections, including in children and infants. In fact, rotavirus is the main cause of diarrhea among children.

Indeed, this infection can be deadly, so the Department of Health advises parents to give their babies the rotavirus vaccine. Here’s what you need to know about this infection.

Rotavirus Is a Highly Contagious and Dangerous Virus

According to the CDC, this is a contagious virus that can cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines.


This virus is highly contagious, especially in children, causing diarrhea, nausea, fever , abdominal pain, and dehydration.

It usually causes diarrhea in infants and children who are less than 3 years old. Despite this, anyone can get rotavirus infection, including adults.

But the main difference is that the symptoms that occur in adults are not as severe as in children.

Unfortunately, diarrhea in children caused by rotavirus infection cannot be treated with the usual medication. In fact, children who have received the vaccine may still be infected.

However, children who have been vaccinated will experience much milder symptoms than those who were not vaccinated at all.

The Rotavirus Infection Process Spreads

One important thing to remember is that rotavirus can spread easily from person to person. Initially, the virus is present in the feces of an infected person.

Even if the person has not yet experienced any symptoms, it is possible for them to already infect other people.

One way to prevent this is to always maintain good personal hygiene.

The habit of washing hands with soap and running water after using the bathroom or before eating can actually stop the spread of rotavirus diarrhea.

Unfortunately, many people neglect the habit of washing their hands. Even after cleaning the dirt, the virus can still stick to the hands.

From the hands, the virus will be transferred to objects or places that the child touches. This is how people can get infected.

Rotavirus infection is easily transmitted when children do the following.

  • Not washing the hands with soap and then touching your mouth after using the bathroom.
  • Holding an object that has been contaminated, then putting your hand in your mouth.
  • Eating food that has been contaminated with the virus.

Because it is very easy to spread, rotavirus can actually be everywhere, such as:

  • Food
  • Kitchen sinks and countertops
  • Toys
  • Smart phones
  • Cooking utensils
  • Infected water


Signs and Symptoms of Rotavirus Infection in Children

Symptoms of rotavirus infection in children can appear within 2 days after exposure to the virus.

The most common symptom is severe diarrhea in children and can last for 3-8 days.

In addition, some other conditions that may arise when rotavirus infection occurs in children and infants are:

  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite,
  • Watery diarrhea up to 10 times per day
  • Bloody stool
  • Feeling very tired
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Stomach pain.

Adults can also experience these symptoms but to a much lesser degree.

In fact, in some cases of infection in adults, no symptoms appear at that time.


Treatment of Rotavirus Infection in Children

There is no specific drug to treat this viral infection. However, the doctor may treat based on the symptoms that appear, for example, diarrhea causes the sufferer to become dehydrated.

Because toddlers, children, and the elderly are prone to dehydration , doctors will treat and prevent these things from happening.

Therefore, in addition to drugs, one of the treatments for rotavirus is taking ORS which cannot be replaced with drugs.

If the dehydration that occurs is severe, the child requires fluid intake directly into a vein through an IV.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Hello Sehat · Updated Jun 20, 2022

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