Rota Virus: What is it, How is it transmitted, symptoms, treatment
Rota virus is a common type of viral infection that causes diarrhea, especially in children under 5 years of age. Some studies show that there are approximately more than 100 million cases of rotavirus-induced gastroenteritis worldwide every year. Today, there are various vaccines against rotavirus and vaccination programs are being carried out. However, the disease is still a significant health problem that affects many people. What are the symptoms of rotavirus? How is it transmitted? How is it treated? You can read the rest of the article for answers to questions such as and other details about rotavirus.
What is Rota Virus?
Rota virus is a double-stranded RNA virus found in the virus family Reoviridae. Among the 9 different types of rotaviruses, the group that causes the most common infection is Rotavirus A type. Although it is commonly seen in children between the ages of 6-24 months, rotavirus infection can also occur in adults. Some studies show that the infection tends to occur in winter in countries with a temperate climate, and in all seasons in countries with a tropical climate. Rota virus is an important health problem that threatens public health, especially children, around the world. Therefore, prevention and treatment of infection is important for global public health.
How is Rota Virus Transmitted?
Rota virus can be found in the stool even before diarrhea begins. The virus found in the feces can easily spread to other surfaces as a result of not washing your hands properly after bathing or changing the diaper. Consuming food and drinks contaminated with feces is the main way of transmitting the infection. This is known as fecal-oral transmission. In addition, the body fluids of someone infected with rotavirus can also transmit the disease.
What are the Symptoms of Rota Virus?
Although the incubation period of rotavirus infection varies, symptoms usually appear within 2-4 days after infection with the virus. Rota virus can present itself with different symptoms. The first among these are diarrhea and vomiting. The main symptoms of rotavirus infection can be listed as follows:
- Sudden onset of fever and vomiting after the incubation period,
- Diarrhea that starts after fever and vomiting,
- Stomach ache,
- an angry mood
In addition to those listed above, rotavirus; If not treated early, diarrhea, vomiting and high fever may cause fluid-electrolyte imbalance and dehydration in the body. It is important to consult the nearest health institution without delay when symptoms of dehydration are noticed in children and adults. The main symptoms of dehydration can be listed as follows:
- Less urination,
- dry mouth,
- mental confusion,
- Fewer tears when crying in babies and children,
- Insomnia and restlessness
How is Rota Virus Diagnosed?
The only way to distinguish rotavirus from other pathogens is microbiological examination performed in a laboratory environment. It is possible to diagnose rotavirus by examining the stool in a laboratory environment. However, since the main goal of treating diarrhea is to prevent dehydration, differential diagnosis may not usually be needed.
Rota Virus Treatment
In children and adults with strong immune systems infected with rotavirus, the disease usually resolves spontaneously within a few days. Today, there is no drug developed against rotavirus yet. However, a treatment procedure can be applied to help relieve symptoms related to the infection. Since the disease is characterized by intense diarrhea and vomiting, it is important to prevent complications that may arise due to diarrhea and vomiting. In this case, some medications may be prescribed by a specialist doctor. However, in case of severe dehydration, treatment may need to continue in the hospital. The best way to combat rotavirus infection is to drink plenty of fluids. So what should people whose children and/or themselves show symptoms of rotavirus do? Methods that can be applied against rotary infection can be listed as follows:
- A baby infected with the virus should be breastfed frequently. This helps prevent dehydration.
- Sugary and fatty foods and drinks can increase the severity of diarrhea and vomiting. For this reason, it is recommended to stay away from sugary foods throughout the disease.
- Consuming liquid foods such as soup may help relieve symptoms.
- It is important to let children drink water at frequent intervals.
In addition to the above; If conditions such as pale skin color, dry mouth, or decreased urine output are noticed, the nearest health institution should be consulted without delay.
Rota Virus Protection Methods
The main way rotavirus is transmitted is through contact with a contaminated surface and/or consumption of contaminated food and beverages. Some precautions can help protect against rotavirus. These are as follows:
- Washing hands after using the toilet and before each meal is one of the most effective ways to protect against viruses, especially rotavirus.
- Rota virus is transmitted more easily in unhygienic environments. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid being in environments that are not clean enough.
- Water contaminated with the virus can transmit the virus. Consuming unhygienic water should be avoided.
- Nowadays, there are vaccines developed against rotavirus. Getting these vaccines, especially in childhood, is the most effective way to protect against the disease. The ideal thing for children is to start vaccination at 2 and 3 months.
In addition to the above, avoiding close contact with people showing symptoms of infection and washing hands with soap and water after changing babies’ diapers without touching anything can help protect against infection.
Rota Virus Vaccine
The most effective way to protect against rotavirus is vaccination. These vaccines are especially recommended for children and people with weak immune systems. Rotavirus vaccines, which were first administered in 2006, have now greatly reduced infection-related hospitalization rates. Today, there are two licensed vaccines against rotavirus in Turkey. One of them contains 5 antigens against the virus and is administered in 3 doses. This vaccine is usually administered when the baby is 2, 4 and 6 months old. It is recommended that the last dose be administered before the baby turns 24 months.
Another licensed vaccine administered in Turkey is administered in 2 doses and contains 1 antigen against infection. This vaccine is administered in 2 doses at the ages of 2 and 4 months. Since both vaccines are administered orally, they are easy to administer to infants. As with other vaccines, some mild side effects may occur after vaccination. Some of these are as follows:
- mild fever,
However, although rare, in some cases, effects such as severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloody stools may occur after vaccination. In this case, it is important to consult the nearest health institution without wasting time.
Rota virus can cause serious complications due to dehydration in children and adults whose immune systems are not strong enough. Since there is no specific treatment for the disease, it is primarily important to prevent infection. For this reason, care should be taken to provide the necessary hygiene education, especially to school-age children. It is also recommended that rotavirus vaccine be included in vaccination programs. If you or your child develop symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting, do not forget to consult the nearest health institution without delay.