People who are infected with rotavirus shed the virus in their stool (poop). This is how the virus gets into the environment and can infect other people. People shed rotavirus the most, and are more likely to infect others, when they have symptoms and during the first 3 days after they recover. People with rotavirus can also infect others before they have symptoms.
If you get rotavirus particles in your mouth, you can get sick. This can happen if you
- put your unwashed hands that are contaminated with poop into your mouth
- touch contaminated objects or surfaces then put your fingers in your mouth
- eat contaminated food
Rotavirus spreads easily among infants and young children. They can spread rotavirus to family members and other people with whom they have close contact. Good hygiene like handwashing and cleanliness are important, but are not enough to control the spread of the disease. Rotavirus vaccination is the best way to protect your child from rotavirus disease.
Children are most likely to get rotavirus in the winter and spring (December through June).
- Page last reviewed: April 23, 2018
- Page last updated: April 23, 2018
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