Rotavirus is a viral intestinal infection which causes vomiting, fever, diarrhoea and toxicity in the body. This infection has a seasonal pattern with a typical morbidity peak during the cold season. In Lithuania, there tends to be an increase in the morbidity rate between December and April.
The group which most commonly suffers from infections caused by rotavirus is children under 5. Older people and people with a weakened immune system may also become infected with rotavirus, although this is rare.
A source of the virus can be someone who is already infected by it. Most commonly infectious agents are spread by infected children and adults with a latent form of the infection. Rotavirus can spread when an individual touches an object contaminated with the virus and then puts their hand in or near their mouth.
Initial symptoms of this disease can be observed within 24-72 hours after infection occurs. Light forms of rotavirus are rarely reported. The most common are mild forms. It has a rapid onset. The main early symptom is vomiting, which can last from 2 to 6 days. Following this, the patient starts to suffer from diarrhoea. The episodes of watery or semi-watery diarrhoea become frequent, occurring up to 20 times a day. Diarrhoea lasts longer than vomiting. At the onset of infection, a patient may experience a stomach ache. In children, rotavirus can cause symptoms of inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Almost 90% of patients suffer from fever. Fever may vary greatly, starting with a low-febrile temperature and increasing until it becomes a very severe fever. It can last for 3-4 days. The virus can also disturb the digestion of dairy products. An infected person loses a lot of water and salts, which causes an electrolyte imbalance. Severe dehydration can be very dangerous for infants and children.
- other preventive measures: maintenance of hand hygiene, personal hygiene, isolation of the patient, use of disinfectants.
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