Rotavirus Surveillance

Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among children, resulting in the hospitalization of approximately 55,000 children each year in the United States and the death of over 600,000 children annually worldwide. The incubation period for rotavirus disease is approximately 2 day is characterized by vomiting and watery diarrhea for 3 - 8 days. Fever and abdominal pain occur frequently.

The primary mode of transmission is fecal-oral, although some have reported low titers of virus in respiratory tract secretions and other body fluids. Because the virus is stable in the environment, transmission can occur through ingestion of contaminated water or food and contact with contaminated surfaces. In temperate climates, the disease has a winter seasonal pattern, with annual epidemics occurring from November to April. The highest rates of illness occur among infants and young children, and most children in the United States are infected by 2 years of age. Immunity after infection is incomplete, but repeat infections tend to be less severe than the original infection. Adults can also be infected, though disease tends to be mild.

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