, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 476-487

Rotavirus gastroenteritis


Rotavirus is the single most important cause of severe, dehydrating gastroenteritis in infants and young children worldwide. Rotavirus gastroenteritis is associated with high morbidity in developed countries and significant mortality in developing countries. Virtually all children are infected with rotavirus by 3 years of age. Fecal-oral transmission is the most likely route of virus spread. Group A serotype strains G1 through G4 account for more than 90% of rotavirus gastroenteritis in humans, with G1 being the predominant serotype. The virus preferentially infects the mature small-intestinal enterocytes. Rotavirus gastroenteritis is characterized by fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, with vomiting particularly prominent. Dehydration is a frequent complication because of the severity of the diarrhea and the associated vomiting. Rehydration and maintenance of proper fluid and electrolyte balance remain the mainstay of treatment. Hygienic measures have little effect on the reduction of rotavirus infection rates. The disease can be effectively controlled by universal rotavirus vaccination.