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Rotavirus spreads easily among infants and young children. Children can spread the virus both before and after they become sick with diarrhea. They can also pass rotavirus to family members and other people with whom they have close contact.

People who are infected with rotavirus shed rotavirus (passed from a person’s body into the environment) in their feces (stool). They shed the virus most when they are sick and during the first 3 days after they recover from rotavirus disease.

The virus spreads by the fecal-oral route; this means that the virus must be shed by an infected person and then enter a susceptible person’s mouth to cause infection. Rotavirus can be spread by contaminated

  • Hands
  • Objects (toys, surfaces)
  • Food
  • Water

Children are most likely to get rotavirus in the winter and spring (December through June).

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