Rotavirus is present in an infected person's stool several days before symptoms appear and for up to 10 days after symptoms subside. The virus spreads easily through hand-to-mouth contact throughout this time — even if the infected person doesn't have symptoms.
If you have rotavirus and you don't wash your hands after using the toilet — or your child has rotavirus and you don't wash your hands after changing your child's diaper or helping your child use the toilet — the virus can spread to anything you touch, including food, toys and utensils. If another person touches your unwashed hands or a contaminated object and then touches his or her mouth, an infection may follow.
Because there are many types of rotavirus, it's possible to be infected more than once, even if you've been vaccinated. However, repeat infections are typically less severe.
Mar. 27, 2013
- Rotavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/index.html. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- What to do in a medical emergency: Fever. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=242&terms=fever. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Mandell GL, et al. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06839-3..X0001-X--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06839-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis among infants and children: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR. 2009;58:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5802.pdf. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Diarrhea. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/diarrhea/#children. Accessed Jan. 16, 2013.
- Rotavirus. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/nuvi/rotavirus/en/. Accessed Jan. 16, 2013.
- Update on recommendations for the use of rotavirus vaccines. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm212140.htm. Accessed Jan. 11, 2013.
- Pickering LK, et al. Red Book Online. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009. http://aapredbook.aappublications.org. Accessed Jan. 24, 2013.