The Rotavirus is a part of the Reoviridae class of viruses. It is a group 3 classification that contains segmented, double-stranded RNA viruses (dsRNA) that are found within humans, plants, animals, fungi and bacteria. This nasty little virus is mainly responsible for causing diarrhea in young and small infants. There is good news and bad news with this virus in that almost every single newborn will fall victim to the Rotavirus at some point in their early life. However, the good news is that immunity to this virus builds rather quickly so the child will suffer less and less as time goes on.
The root cause of the Rotavirus is through fecal matter getting into the mouth of children. Often, parents forget to wash their children’s hands throughout the day and small pieces of fecal matter can make their way into the child’s mouth and then into their stomach. These particles then make their way into the small intestines where they can cause a ‘stomach flu’ (gastroenteritis). Although this virus brings on an array of symptoms related to the flu such as vomiting, diarrhea (most common), fever, and sweating, it has no correlation or classification to the influenza virus.
Rotavirus Signs and Symptoms
The Rotavirus is mainly responsible for sickness in younger children and especially newborns. The most common age for this virus is from 5 and younger. However, it should be noted that adults may find themselves dealing with the Rotavirus as well. If you have noticed symptoms such as vomiting, sweating, and fever, it may be best to consult with your doctor and find out the root cause of this problem.
Another key sign that you are dealing with the Rotavirus is dehydration. Dehydration symptoms include dizziness, lethargy, and foggy train of thought and vision. Although dehydration is very common and can easily be alleviated, it is also the largest factor in deaths related to the Rotavirus.
The mortality rate statistics associated with the Rotavirus are mainly from developing countries that do not have access to medical technologies that established countries have access to. It is estimated that nearly 2 million children and adults fall victim to this virus each year. Out of that 2 million, 450,000 of them lose their lives due to lack of proper medical treatment in countries that lack a robust healthcare system. Before the Rotavirus vaccine, the United States alone had 2.7 million cases of gastroenteritis.
With the growing medical sector and capital donations dedicated to fight viruses and illness, we can only hope that these numbers are lowered in the near future. If you are noticing the symptoms listed above, especially diarrhea, get to the doctor as soon as possible.
History of the Rotavirus
The Rotavirus is relatively new to the medical world. Up until the year 1973 large spread cases of diarrhea were a mystery to doctors as there was no link between what was happening and any known viruses. The medical researchers then discovered pieces of fecal matter within the cell wall cytoplasm lining the intestinal villi. This discovery was made in the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne Australia and presented to the rest of the world. This lead doctors to notice a pattern as to what was happening within their patients and further medical studies were performed.
After this discovery was made, doctors knew how to treat and solve some of the problems their patients were having. Not only this, but the discovery was made about the natural immune system response within the human body towards the Rotavirus. After the patient first falls ill with the virus, the body builds up an immunity and a strength to fight off future infections. Much in the same way vaccines work, the body has to undergo contracting and fighting the virus in order to build up antibodies that protect the individual in the future.