Rotavirus is a common virus that often causes severe diarrhea, usually with fever and vomiting. In fact, rotavirus is the leading cause of diarrhea in infants and young children in the United States and worldwide. In the United States, almost all children are likely to be infected with it by the time they are five years old.
Several different strains of rotavirus can cause infections in humans. Although children can be infected with the virus more than once, the first infection is usually the most severe, and each subsequent infection causes symptoms that are less severe in nature.
People commonly use other names to describe rotavirus infections, such as:
- Viral gastroenteritis
- Stomach flu
- Rotavirus gastroenteritis
- Infantile diarrhea.
(For a more in-depth look at this topic, including how you may be able to protect your child from this virus, click Rotavirus.)