Rotavirus is a contagious, symptomatic viral disease that can cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines). It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridea . Immunity develops with each infection, so subsequent infections are less severe; adults are rarely affected.There are eight species of this virus, referred to as Rotovirus A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. Rotavirus A, the most common species, causes more than 90% of rotavirus infections in humans.It was discovered in 1973 by Ruth Bishop and her colleagues by electron micrograph images. Rotavirus infections occur primarily during cool and dry seasons.
Symptoms include severe watery diarrhea, often with nausea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Once a child is infected by the virus, there is an incubation period of about two days before symptoms appear. The period of illness is acute. Symptoms often start with vomiting followed by four to eight days of profuse diarrhoea. Children can become severely dehydrated and it can lead to death.
Rotavirus is transmitted by the faecal- oral route, via contact with contaminated hands and surfaces and possibly by the respiratory route. The faeces of an infected person can contain more than 10 trillion infectious particles per gram. Rotaviruses are stable in the environment and can survive between 9 and 19 days outside its host. Specific diagnosis of infection with rotavirus A is made by finding the virus in the child’s stool by enzyme immunoassay sensitive test kits can detect all serotypes of rotavirus A. Electron microscopy and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) are used in research laboratories. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) can detect and identify all species and serotypes of human rotavirus.
Rotavirus disease is self-limited since their is no antiviral medicine for it and antibacterial drugs cannot be used because it is a virus, Treatment of acute rotavirus infection is nonspecific and involves management of symptoms and, most importantly, management of dehyration using oral rehydration therapy( water that contains small amounts of salt and sugar) and Zinc solution.
Symptoms of dehydration include decrease in urination, dry mouth and throat and feeling dizzy when standing up. A dehydrated child may also
- cry with few or no tears and
- be unusually sleepy or fussy.
Rotavirus is highly contagious and cannot be treated with antibiotics or other drug and Because improved sanitation does not decrease the prevalence of rotaviral disease, and the rate of hospitalization remains high despite the use of oral rehydrating medicines, the primary public health intervention/prevention is vaccination (Rotarix by GlaxoSmithKline and RotaTeq by Merck) which are taken orally and contain attenuated live virus.