A rotavirus infection usually starts with a fever and vomiting, followed by three to eight days of watery diarrhea. The infection can cause abdominal pain as well. In adults who are otherwise healthy, a rotavirus infection may cause only mild signs and symptoms — or none at all.
When to see a doctor
Call your child's doctor if your child:
- Has severe or bloody diarrhea
- Has frequent episodes of vomiting for more than three hours
- Has a temperature of 103 F (39.4 C) or higher
- Seems lethargic, irritable or in pain
- Has signs or symptoms of dehydration — dry mouth, crying without tears, little or no urination, unusual sleepiness or unresponsiveness
If you're an adult, call your doctor if you:
March 27, 2013
- Aren't able to keep liquids down for 24 hours
- Have frequent episodes of vomiting for more than one or two days
- Vomit blood
- Have blood in your bowel movements
- Have a temperature higher than 103 F (39.4 C)
- Have signs or symptoms of dehydration — excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness on standing or lightheadedness
- 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.