Fast Facts about Rotaviruses
Rotaviruses are the leading cause of both routine vomiting and diarrheal illnesses and of severe, life-threatening diarrhea in every country in the world. Click here to read more about rotaviruses.
- About 50,000 children are hospitalized in the United States each year for rotavirus infections (JAMA 1998;279:1371-6).
- Rotaviruses cause about 1 in 78 children in the United States to be hospitalized before they enter kindergarten.
- They are the leading cause of both routine vomiting and diarrheal illnesses and of severe, life-threatening diarrhea in every country in the world.
- Almost every child on the planet becomes infected by age 5 (Pediatrics 1996;97:7-13).
- 900,000 young children around the world die each year from rotaviruses (New England Journal of Medicine 1996;335:1022-28). Most of these deaths occur in developing countries.
- In the US, rotaviruses are responsible for more than 3.5 million diarrheal illnesses, half a million physician visits, 50,000 hospitalizations, and 20 tragic deaths each year (JAMA 1998;279:1371-6). Those who are admitted to the hospital stay for an average of four days.
- The extreme dehydration that can be caused by rotaviruses is second only to the dehydration caused by cholera.
- Rotaviruses are extremely contagious. They originate in the stool, but are found throughout the environment wherever young children spend much time, especially during the winter months.
- Rotavirus particles remain active on human hands for at least 4 hours, on hard dry surfaces for 10 days, and on wet areas for weeks.
- There is a fairly rapid test for rotavirus diarrhea. The direct-antigen test can give results in 24 hours.
- In February 2006, the FDA approved a new rotavirus vaccine called “RotaTeq.” It is given orally to children at 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months of age. This vaccine has been shown to significantly reduce severe and life-threatening cases of rotavirus.
Get Dr. Greene's Wellness RecommendationsSignup now to get Dr. Greene's healing philosophy, insight into medical trends, parenting tips, seasonal highlights, and health news delivered to your inbox every month.