Rotavirus Diarrhea
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Rotavirus Diarrhea in the Child Care Setting

Rotavirus Diarrhea

Rotavirus is one type of virus that causes diarrhea, especially in young children. It is a common cause of infection is a common cause of diarrhea in the child care setting. Rotavirus infection usually occurs during the winter months. Some children have no symptoms of rotavirus infection while others may have severe vomiting , watery diarrhea, and fever. In some instances, there may also be a cough or runny nose. Rotavirus diarrhea usually lasts from 4 to 6 days, but may last longer and cause intermittent diarrhea in children who have compromised immune systems.

Rotavirus infections may be highly contagious. Children and adults can become infected by coming in direct contact with the viruses that are in the feces of an infected child and then passing those viruses to the mouth (fecal-oral transmission). Often, another child or adult touches a surface that has been contaminated and then touches his or her mouth. A child with rotavirus infection may be contagious before the onset of diarrhea and for a few days after the diarrhea has ended.

A vaccine for rotavirus is being developed but is not yet available. Although there is no specific therapy for rotavirus diarrhea, the most effective therapy is to encourage ill children to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

To prevent the spread of rotavirus infection in your facility: Exclude any child with diarrhea from the child care setting until these symptoms are gone. Exclude any adult who has diarrhea until these symptoms are gone. Make sure that everyone in the child care setting practices good handwashing. Wash your hands after using the toilet, helping a child use the toilet, and diapering a child and before preparing or serving food. Have children wash their hands upon arrival at your child care facility, after using the toilet, after having their diapers changed (an adult should wash an infant's or small child's hands), and before eating snacks or meals. Disinfect toys, diaper changing surfaces, bathrooms, and food preparation surfaces daily. Use disposable paper towels for handwashing. Parents should contact the child's physician if their child develops diarrhea.

Note: This information is not intended to take the place of your state's or locality's child care regulations and laws. In every case, the laws and regulations of the city, county, and state in which the child care facility is located must be carefully followed even if they differ from these recommendations.

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