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 the symptoms to appear.
Children who get infected may have severe watery diarrhea, often with vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain. Vomiting and watery diarrhea can last from 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
- decrease in urination,
- dry mouth and throat and
- feeling dizzy when standing up.
A dehydrated child may also
- cry with few or no tears and
- be unusually sleepy or fussy.
Adults who get rotavirus disease tend to have milder symptoms.
Children, even those that are vaccinated, may get sick from rotavirus more than once. That is because neither natural infection with rotavirus nor rotavirus vaccination provides full protection from future infections. Usually a person’s first time getting rotavirus causes the most severe symptoms. However, vaccinated children are much less likely to get sick from rotavirus, and if they do get sick, their symptoms are usually less severe than unvaccinated children.
- Page last reviewed: August 12, 2016
- Page last updated: August 12, 2016
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