Rotavirus Infection In Children
Recent statistics show, that half a million children die worldwide each year due to rotavirus infection. Most susceptible to rotavirus infection are children from six months to two years, the elderly and those with low immunity status.
Infection caused by rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children. By the age of five, nearly every child in the world was infected with rotavirus at least once. With each infection, immunity develops and subsequent infections are less severe. There are five species of rotavirus, called A, B, C, D and E. The most common is rotavirus type A, which causes more than 90% of rotavirus infections in humans. Rotavirus gastroenteritis is usually a mild disease, but it can become severe. It is characterized by vomiting, watery diarrhea and, less frequently, by fever. Rotavirus infection rate peaks during the winter months.
Transmission of disease:
The rotavirus has a fecal-oral transmission. Rotavirus is stable in the environment and is found in water samples that were previously treated to remove bacteria and parasites. The most common transmission is achieved by contact with hands, surfaces and objects that are contaminated with rotavirus and, rarely, by the respiratory route.
Rotavirus infections can occur throughout life: first, usually produce symptoms, but subsequent infections are usually asymptomatic, because the immune system provides a partial protection. The virus infects and destroys the lining cells of the small intestine and causes gastroenteritis. Once a child is infected with this virus, there is an incubation period of about two days before the appearance of symptoms.
Often, events begins with vomiting followed by four to eight days of diarrhea, which can cause dehydration. This symptoms are more common in rotavirus infection than in most infections caused by bacteria and represents the most common cause of death in children.
Acute rotavirus infection is nonspecific and involves management of symptoms and, most importantly, maintain hydration. In untreated cases, children may die by severe dehydration. Depending on the severity of diarrhea should be performed oral or intravenous rehydration. It is recommended to be given small quantities of water, which contain small amounts of salt and sugar. Some infections are serious enough to warrant hospitalization, were the administration of liquids is done intravenously and are also monitored electrolytes and glucose levels. Because the disease prevalence dose not improve after sanitation and hospitalization rate remains high, despite the use of oral rehydrate, the only effective method of preventing the disease is vaccination.
Rotavirus infection is usually a mild disease of childhood, but worldwide more than 500.000 children under five years die of this infection, and each year over two million become severely ill.
Since 2006, two rotavirus vaccines have proven to be safe and effective in children. Both are taken orally and contain live attenuated virus.