Rotavirus infection

Rotavirus infection

Rotavirus infection is a viral infection that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Rotavirus infection is a common cause of diarrhea in infants and children, especially in countries with poor hygiene .  

Symptoms of rotavirus infection generally appear 2 days after a person is exposed to this virus. One of the most common symptoms is diarrhea. Diarrhea caused by rotavirus infection can cause a rapid loss of fluids from the body, making it prone to dehydration .

Causes of Rotavirus Infection and Transmission

Rotavirus is a virus that causes diarrhea which is transmitted through the fecal-oral route . Fecal-oral is a way of transmitting the virus through hands contaminated with feces (feces), then accidentally entering the mouth.

In addition, rotavirus that is passed through feces can contaminate water, food, drinks and objects around it, such as toys and kitchen utensils. This can happen if the patient's personal hygiene is not maintained properly, for example not washing hands after defecating, then touching objects around it.

Rotavirus infection is common in children around 3 months to 3 years of age. In addition, adults who care for or live with children who are suffering from rotavirus infection are also susceptible to this disease.

Symptoms of Rotavirus Infection

Symptoms of rotavirus infection generally appear 2 days after exposure to this virus. Early symptoms of rotavirus infection are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Vomit
  • Abdominal pain

Diarrhea that occurs due to rotavirus infection often causes dehydration, especially in children. Symptoms that can appear when dehydration occurs are:

  • Dry mouth
  • The eyes look sunken
  • Easy to fall asleep
  • The frequency of urination is reduced
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fingertips feel cold
  • Decreased consciousness

Meanwhile, the symptoms of rotavirus infection in adults are generally milder. In fact, some sufferers have no complaints. If it appears, the symptoms of rotavirus infection in adults include:

  • Diarrhea more than 2 days
  • Fever with a temperature of 39 o C or more
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting blood or having bloody stools

When to see a doctor

Immediately go to the doctor if you or your child has symptoms of rotavirus infection as mentioned above. Early examination and treatment can prevent complications from rotavirus infection.

If you or your child is diagnosed with a rotavirus infection, follow the recommendations and therapy given by the doctor. This is because rotavirus infection can occur more than once, even in people who have received the vaccine.

Diagnosis of rotavirus infection

To diagnose rotavirus infection, the doctor will conduct a question and answer about the symptoms experienced by the patient. After that, the doctor will carry out a physical examination to see if there is a fever and signs of dehydration.

Furthermore, to confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will carry out supporting examinations, such as:

  • Blood tests , to detect infection and measure electrolyte levels in the blood to diagnose complications of dehydration
  • Stool examination , to determine the type of germs that cause diarrhea and detect rotavirus antigens in the stool sample

Treatment of Rotavirus Infection

Until now there are no drugs that can treat rotavirus infection. However, there are steps that can be taken to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

If the symptoms are not severe and the patient can still eat or drink, treatment can be done independently at home. These efforts include:

  • Drink plenty of water for adults and keep giving breast milk or formula to babies
  • Drink ORS according to the doctor's advice
  • Eat a balanced nutritious diet in the form of soups and foods with broth or broth to increase your fluid intake
  • Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks
  • Avoid foods that are too sweet or fatty
  • Get enough rest

If the diarrhea is getting worse to the point where it is difficult to eat and drink, the doctor will advise the patient to be hospitalized.

Complications of Rotavirus Infection

Untreated rotavirus infection can cause complications in the form of:

  • Severe dehydration due to diarrhea
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Kidney and liver disorders
  • Acidosis
  • Kidney failure

Prevention of Rotavirus Infection

There are several ways you can do to prevent and reduce the spread of rotavirus infection, namely:

  • Washing hands with soap and running water, especially after going to the toilet, before and after eating, or changing diapers
  • Vaccinate, especially the rotavirus vaccine , according to the schedule given by the doctor
  • Maintain cleanliness and sanitation of the environment around the residence
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