Rotavirus is a virus that causes gastroenteritis. Symptoms include severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and dehydration. Almost all children in the U.S. are likely to be infected with rotavirus before their 5th birthday.
Infections happen most often in the winter and spring. It is very easy for children with the virus to spread it to other children and sometimes to adults. Once a child gets the virus, it takes about two days to become sick. Vomiting and diarrhea may last from three to eight days.
There is no medicine to treat it. To prevent dehydration, have your child drink plenty of liquids. Your health care provider may recommend oral rehydration drinks. Some children need to go to the hospital for IV fluids. Two vaccines against rotavirus infections are available.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Frequently Asked Questions about Rotavirus (National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)
- Rotavirus (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Rotavirus (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Available in Spanish
- Rotavirus (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Rotavirus (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- Viral Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- One Family's Struggles with Rotavirus (Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Rotavirus Infections (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- Rotavirus antigen test Available in Spanish
- Rotavirus Vaccine: What You Need to Know (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Rotavirus: Information for Parents (American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF Available in Spanish