Rotavirus en los niños ¿qué es y cómo se transmite?

The main cause of gastroenteritis in infants and preschoolers is the infection caused by rotavirus in children, contagious disease that increases in the spring and summer months. The first outbreak is always the strongest, and the disease can be contracted multiple times throughout life.

Expert: Isabel Miquel, gastroenteróloga children's Clinic German

During the time of spring cases of rotavirus in children increased, it is for this reason that you must be attentive to the symptoms characteristic of this disease: vomiting, fever, and diarrhea, which appear and disappear suddenly, especially in small from 6 months up to 5 years, however, it also occurs in older children and adults. This microorganism is very resistant to environmental conditions and is easily transmitted by the fecal-oral route, resulting in dehydration as the most serious complication which is associated with acute gastroenteritis.

To prevent the severity of the rotavirus in children and adults, as well as to prevent hospitalizations that often causes it is necessary to maintain the hygienic conditions in the home, on the other hand, there are two types of vaccines that must be placed between 2 and 6 months, so prevention is key to avoid an infection.


The Pan american Health Organization (PAHO) strongly recommended vaccinating infants against rotavirus due to the high levels of health burden overall that were attributed to the disease. The world produces around 600 thousand deaths due to diarrhea per year in infants caused by rotavirus, in addition, is responsible for 40% of the hospitalizations for ulcerative colitis in children under 5 years.

Symptoms of rotavirus in children

The following signals will allow you to be attentive to the evolution and prevention of the disease, knowing about them will help you perceive not only your baby, but in children that are in your environment:

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  • The incubation period of the virus is 24 to 48 hours
  • Appear abruptly frequent vomiting
  • High fever (about 39ºC) for not more than three days.
  • 24 hours after the filing of the symptoms already described, usually appear on the diarrhea, which can occur several times in the day until the end of the disease.
  • Diarrhea can occur up to 8 days after the first manifestation.

Dr. Elizabeth Miquel, gastroenteróloga children's Clinic German, explains that the diagnosis is confirmed with the detection of the virus in the stools (rotaforesis). For its part, the treatment consists of ensuring adequate hydration with oral rehydration salts, liquid, or intravenously in patients with severe dehydration, in addition they should be given probiotics.

Hygiene as a preventive measure

The main mechanism of transmission of rotavirus is by the fecal-oral contact, but can also be through sneezing, coughing and saliva,”says the doctor Miquel. You can also be infected through food, water, items, objects, toys, or the contact in the banisters.

A person with rotavirus can be infectious to others before showing symptoms and, in some cases, up to 1 week after they have recovered. For this reason, the prevention is to avoid contact with a sick person, and of maintaining the hygiene of surfaces and food, the usual washing of hands after going to the bathroom, mainly.

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