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Understanding Rotavirus: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Home > Blogs > Understanding Rotavirus: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Understanding Rotavirus: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Paediatrics | by Dr. Saugata Acharya | Published on 15/05/2023

Overview: What Is Rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects infants and young children. It is one of the leading causes of severe diarrhoea worldwide, resulting in numerous hospitalizations and deaths each year. Understanding the symptoms, causes, treatment methods, and prevention of rotavirus is crucial to safeguarding the health of vulnerable populations, especially children.

What Are The Symptoms Of Rotavirus?

It is important to note that the severity of symptoms can vary, ranging from mild to severe, and some individuals may not exhibit all the symptoms. Rotavirus infection typically involves symptoms such as severe diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Diarrhoea caused by rotavirus is often watery and can last for three to eight days, leading to dehydration. Other associated symptoms may include

  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy

How Does Rotavirus Occur?

The primary cause of rotavirus often originates through the faecal-oral route, primarily through contaminated hands, objects, and surfaces. The virus can survive on surfaces for an extended period, making it highly transmissible. Ingesting even small amounts of the virus can result in infection. The peak incidence of rotavirus infections occurs during winter months in temperate climates, while it can persist year-round in tropical regions.

What Are the Treatment Methods For Rotavirus?

The primary goal of treating rotavirus infection is to prevent dehydration and manage its associated symptoms. The following treatment methods are commonly recommended to treat and manage symptoms of rotavirus -

  • Rehydration - Replenishing fluids and electrolytes lost due to diarrhoea and vomiting is crucial. Doctors may recommend oral rehydration solutions (ORS) containing a proper balance of salts, sugar, and water. In severe cases, intravenous fluids may be necessary.
  • Nutritional Support - Maintaining adequate nutrition is important during and after the infection. Mothers should continue breastfeeding or formula feeding to replenish nutritional values, and older children may be encouraged to consume a balanced diet to aid in recovery.
  • Medications - Antibiotics are ineffective against rotavirus, as it is a viral infection. However, the doctor may prescribe medication to alleviate specific symptoms such as fever or pain.

How Can I Prevent Rotavirus? 

Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, preventing rotavirus infection is crucial in reducing its long-term impact on the body. Here are some preventive measures -

  • Vaccination - The vaccines are typically administered orally and have been proven highly effective in reducing the incidence and severity of rotavirus-related illness.
  • Hand Hygiene - Regularly washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers, is vital.
  • Sanitation - Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the living environment, particularly in areas where children play, helps prevent the spread of the virus. Regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces is recommended.


Rotavirus is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects young children, causing severe diarrhoea, vomiting, and dehydration. Understanding the symptoms, causes, treatment methods, and preventive measures is crucial to combat this disease. Vaccination, practising good hand hygiene, maintaining sanitation, and following personal protective measures can significantly reduce the incidence of rotavirus infections. These preventive steps and appropriate treatment can protect our children and communities from the harmful effects of rotavirus. Book an appointment with the doctor in case of serious illness.


Can the rotavirus vaccine be given after 6 months?

The first dose of the rotavirus vaccine should be given to the child before the child is 15 weeks old. Children must not receive any dose of rotavirus vaccine after 8 months of age. You can discuss the vaccination schedule for your child with a medical professional to avoid any complications.

How do you treat rotavirus?

Rotavirus can be cured with different methods of treatment which include lifestyle modifications, medications, and maintaining a balanced diet. 

How long does rotavirus last in adults?

Certain symptoms of rotavirus such as vomiting and diarrhea can last for 3 to 8 days depending on the severity of the disease and the medical health of the patient.

Can the rotavirus vaccine cause diarrhoea?

Yes, diarrhoea is one of the apparent symptoms of rotavirus. Additionally, the condition can also lead to mild or temporary vomiting.