Rotavirus infection is an infectious disease triggered by a rotavirus. Rotavirus can be contracted through contaminated water, food, dirty hands, or household products.
Rotavirus infection or rotavirus gastroenteritis is an acute infectious disease caused by rotaviruses, which is characterized by symptoms of general intoxication of the body with damage to the gastrointestinal tract with the development of gastroenteritis.
The causative agent of this infection belongs to the Reoviridae family and the Rotavirus genus. The name rotavirus is based on the similarity of the pathogen to a wheel (in Latin, rota means a wheel). When viewed through an electron microscope, parts of the virus appear as wheels with a wide hub and short spokes, and a well-defined thin rim.
Rotaviruses are highly resistant to the environment. In open water bodies, drinking water and sewage, this infection can persist for several months. On vegetables that a person eats, rotavirus persists for up to 30 days. Rotavirus can withstand repeated freezing, disinfectants, ether, ultrasound and even chloroform, but dies when boiled.
The main source of rotavirus infection is a sick person who excretes a large number of viral particles with feces. Such an allocation occurs at the end of the incubation period and in the very first days of the disease. By the end of the fifth day of the disease, the amount of the virus in the stool is significantly reduced, but the release of the virus finally stops only by the third week of the disease. Healthy people, for example, medical personnel in maternity hospitals or infectious diseases wards, can also be sources of excretion of the pathogen. The virus can be isolated from the feces of these individuals for three months.
The mechanism of transmission of rotavirus infection is fecal-oral, and the modes of transmission can be different. One of the ways of transmission of rotavirus is contact-household, when the infection is transmitted through household items or unwashed hands. Also important are water and alimentary transmission routes of infection. It is necessary to exclude the dangerous moment of drinking infected water, as well as food products that may contain a virus, most often these are dairy products
After a person has suffered a rotavirus infection, a short-term species-specific immunity is formed. In older age groups, repeated diseases are possible. Rotavirus infection occurs in any area in different age groups of the population. Among acute intestinal infections, the proportion of rotavirus gastroenteritis reaches 73%.
The incubation period for rotavirus infection is approximately 16 hours from the moment of infection. The disease usually has an acute onset. The body temperature rises, symptoms of intoxication, vomiting and diarrhea appear. All these symptoms occur almost simultaneously on the first day of illness. Also, from the very beginning, there may be moderate pain in the abdomen. All of these symptoms can persist and grow in the first 24 hours. A gradual onset of the disease is also possible.