SteveKran - 1/6/2009 10:09 AM |
roto virus? never heard of it...doesn't sound like fun though
Rotavirus is a virus that infects the bowels. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children throughout the world and causes the death of about 600,000 children worldwide annually. The name rotavirus comes from the characteristic wheel-like appearance of the virus when viewed by electron microscopy (the name rotavirus is derived from the Latin rota, meaning "wheel").
Almost all children have become infected with rotavirus by their third birthday. Repeat infections with different viral strains are possible, and most children have several episodes of rotavirus infection in the first years of life. After several infections with different strains of the virus, children acquire immunity to rotavirus. Children between the ages of 6 and 24 months are at greatest risk for developing severe disease from rotavirus infection. Adults sometimes become infected, but the resulting illness is usually mild.
Each year in the U.S., rotavirus infection results in the hospitalization of an estimated 55,000 children, 200,000 emergency-room visits, and 400,000 visits to doctor's offices. It is estimated that 100 children die each year in the U.S. from complications of rotavirus infection. Rotavirus affects populations in all socioeconomic groups and is equally prevalent in industrialized and developing countries, so differences in sanitation practices or water supply are not likely to affect the incidence of the infection.
In the U.S., rotavirus infections usually peak in the fall months in the Southwest and spread to the Northeast by spring, so infections are most common during the winter months from November to May. However, infection with rotavirus can occur anytime of the year.
What are rotavirus symptoms?
The time period from initial infection to symptoms (incubation period) for rotavirus disease is around two days. Symptoms of the disease include fever, vomiting, and watery diarrhea. Abdominal pain may also occur, and infected children may have profuse watery diarrhea up to several times per day. Symptoms generally persist for three to nine days. Immunity from repeated infection is incomplete after a rotavirus infection, but repeated infections tend to be less severe than the original infection.
Rotavirus infection can be associated with severe dehydration in infants and children. Severe dehydration can lead to death in rare cases, so it is important to recognize and treat this complication of rotavirus infection. In addition to the symptoms of rotavirus infection discussed above, parents should be aware of the symptoms of dehydration that can occur with rotavirus infection or with other serious conditions.
Symptoms of dehydration include
dry, cool skin,
absence of tears when crying,
dry or sticky mouth,
sunken eyes or sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on the head of infants), and