In order to make a diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions about a patient's medical history and will perform a physical exam, looking for signs and symptoms of the virus. If the doctor suspects rotavirus, he or she may test the stool for it.
(Click Rotavirus Diagnosis for more information.)
There is no medicine that will kill rotavirus. Therefore, treatment goals are focused on providing supportive care while the body fights the infection. Supportive care refers to treating symptoms, such as dehydration, that occur as a result of the rotavirus infection.
Fortunately, for people with healthy immune systems, the body is able to effectively kill the virus, and after 3 to 9 days, symptoms usually improve.
(Click Rotavirus Treatment for more information.)
While it is important that you wash your child's hands (as well as your own), better hygiene and sanitation have not significantly reduced incidents of rotavirus disease. A new, recently licensed vaccine (RotaTeq®) is the best way to protect your child against this virus.
The virus can also be transmitted to adults. An adult infection is less common and usually less severe. In adults, rotavirus infection most often is seen in:
- Family members of affected children
- The elderly
- People with conditions or medications that decrease the function of the immune system, such as people with HIV, AIDS, or cancer.
(Click Adult Rotavirus for more information.)