What is Rota Virus? Rota virus is the virus that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting among children below five years old. It is the second leading killer of under-five Filipino children, accounting for 3,500 deaths annually.
According to studies almost all kids have had a rotavirus infection by the time they are five years old.
Signs and Symptoms
Kids with a rotavirus infection have fever, nausea, and vomiting, often followed by abdominal cramps and frequent, watery diarrhea. Kids may also have a cough and runny nose. As with all viruses, though, some rotavirus infections cause few or no symptoms, especially in adults.
Sometimes the diarrhea that accompanies a rotavirus infection is so severe that it can quickly lead to dehydration.
Signs of dehydration include:
- sunken eyes
- a dry mouth and tongue
- dry skin
- fewer trips to the bathroom to urinate, and (in infants) a dry diaper for several hours.
Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe, dehydrating diarrhea among children worldwide. Each year it causes:
- About 111 million cases of disease requiring home care only
- 25 million clinic visits
- 2 million hospitalizations
- more than 500,000 deaths in children aged five or younger
The only treatment consists of preventing dehydration by providing fluids and salts until the disease runs its course. In the most serious cases, frequent vomiting makes oral rehydration ineffective.
Children who cannot keep down fluids urgently need intravenous fluids, or they risk dying from dehydration.