KidsMD Health Topics

Rotavirus Infections in Children

  • Overview

    Rotavirus is a contagious virus. Among children, it's the leading cause of severe diarrhea. In some infants and children, diarrhea may be so severe that they become dehydrated and require emergency care or hospitalization.

    • usually spreads because of improper hand-washing
    • a vaccine helps prevent it in infants
    • most children will be infected by the time they are 3
    • causes as many as 55,000 children are hospitalized each year in the United States
    • peaks in winter and spring
    • may live on hard surfaces such as toys and door knobs for some time
    • treatment goal is to prevent complications from dehydration

    How Boston Children's Hospital approaches rotavirus
    The Children's Hospital Informatics Program created HealthMap, an online resource and smart phone app that helps track the spread of contagious diseases in real time, including rotavirus.

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