Rotavirus disease is most common in infants and young children. However, older children and adults also can get sick from rotavirus. Once a person has been exposed to rotavirus, it takes about 2 days for symptoms to appear.

Children who get infected may have severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or abdominal pain. Vomiting and watery diarrhea can last 3 to 8 days. Additional symptoms may include loss of appetite and dehydration (loss of body fluids), which can be especially dangerous for infants and young children.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • decreased urination
  • dry mouth and throat
  • feeling dizzy when standing up
  • crying with few or no tears and
  • unusual sleepiness or fussiness.

Adults who get rotavirus disease tend to have milder symptoms.

Children, even those who are vaccinated, may get infected and sick from rotavirus more than once. That is because neither natural infection with rotavirus nor vaccination provides full protection from future infections. Children who are not vaccinated usually have more severe symptoms the first time they get rotavirus disease. Vaccinated children are less likely to get sick from rotavirus.