How to recognize rotavirus in a child, its differences from intestinal infections

How to recognize and distinguish rotavirus from a baby from gastroenteritis and meningitis

Rotavirus is an infectious disease that frequently occurs in children of preschool age. Pathogen – specific RNA-virus. The germ is localized in the cells of the intestinal mucosa and manifests with symptoms that are common to many other infectious diseases – salmonellosis, dysentery, cholera, foodborne illness, meningitis. How to recognize rotavirus in a child in a timely manner, what are the distinctive signs of the disease?

The overall clinical differences in rotavirus

Rotavirus infection is rarely severe, requiring hospitalization. There are some grounds on which to suspect the disease:

  • the most frequent patients – toddlers from 6 months to 2 years (> 95% of cases);
  • the first manifestations occur on the fourth day after infection;
  • vomiting once the first day (constant vomiting does not happen);
  • in Calais there is no blood.

When this infection is rarely acute onset with pronounced dehydration.

Also to differentiate the disease and identify rotavirus in a child helps properly collected history data about the beginning of the disease, possible ways of infection, contact with potential carriers of the virus.

Distinctive features of rotavirus and gastroenteritis

As the virus infects the epithelium of the small intestine, the disease is characterized by the same symptoms, as in many infectious diseases. But pediatricians and infectious disease specialists is able to recognize and distinguish the main features.

When collecting information, do not take into account symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, loss of appetite, if they are any current infections. And vomiting and diarrhea, their nature and course, differ significantly.


With rotavirus vomiting in a child happens only once, at the beginning of illness, when body temperature rises to 37.5°. Gastroenteritis when vomiting is usually repeated, bringing short-term relief, the frequency occurs every hour. In bacterial mucosal gag reflex aktiviziruyutsya even after drinking water, beverages, when you try eating.

READ  How is intestinal infection from person to person

When rotavirus vomit in the form of remnants of the stomach contents. In enteritis they contain mucus, gastric juice, bile, which is thrown from the duodenum into the stomach. Sometimes the vomit can meet streaks of blood.


When rotavirus diarrhea does not occur immediately. It is preceded by a deterioration of the General condition, occasional vomiting, rise of temperature. And only after the manifestation of all these signs comes liquid, watery diarrhea. Babies have you can see feces in the form of yellow water. Stool frequency depends on the degree of epithelial damage and the protective functions of the organism of the child. The average duration of diarrhea is 3 to 4 days.

When a viral infection is never blood in the stool. If the child in stool blood, even the hidden, which was discovered in a laboratory study, this speaks to the bacterial lesions of the mucosa. This differs from the rotavirus intestinal infection.

When gastroenteritis diarrhea occurs first or simultaneously with the vomiting. Stool frequency can reach 10-15 times a day, and in severe cases more often. In the stool detected by a lot of mucus, pus, blood, undigested remnants of food.

Other distinctive features

Difference intestinal infection from rotavirus is also the degree of dehydration.

In viral infection, it develops gradually. To eliminate sufficiently timely and in full, to give drink to the child. If you observe a drinking mode, complications associated with loss of liquid, evolving extremely rare – convulsions, pneumonia, stop, kidneys.

Acute gastroenteritis leads to severe dehydration as an adult, and the child’s body, which develops rapidly from the first day of the disease. This condition requires emergency care and parenteral (intravenous) administration rehydration solution to replenish salts and water.

READ  Datura poisoning: symptoms, consequences

It should also be said about the General condition of children. Rotavirus begins with a slight indisposition, which increases gradually. The child is naughty, not eating, lethargic, inactive, during the day sleepy.

Bacterial infection begins acutely. The baby is completely exhausted, is in bed, lying with his eyes closed, it would be hard to say, increased sensitivity to light and sound stimuli. At a high temperature can be a semiconscious state.

The duration of rotaviral infection, which occurs in mild form, no more than 2-3 days, maximum children suffer for 5-6 days. Acute infectious disease lasts at least 8-10 days with timely treatment, and in severe cases 2-3 weeks.

Treatment of rotavirus in most cases does not require hospitalization and specific treatment and resolves on its own. In bacterial infection of children delivered in the infectious disease clinic for examination, monitoring, proper and timely therapy.

What is different from rotavirus meningococcal infection

In severe rotavirus infection and severe dehydration in babies may develop neurological symptoms and functional impairment, seizures. It is therefore important to know the distinction of meningitis from rotavirus.

Meningitis at the early stage of the disease is different from a viral infection. It manifests itself acutely with a sharp rise of high temperature and chills. The child’s condition is deteriorating rapidly, and the intoxication leads to a rapid defeat of the nervous system. The severity of symptoms in meningitis:

  • increasing pain when moving the eyeballs;
  • photophobia;
  • hypersensitivity of the skin;
  • irritation from loud sounds.

When rotavirus there are cramps of the limbs (arms and legs). In meningitis by the end of the first day is the rigidity (stiffness) of the muscles of the nape of the neck – the result of a lesion of the meninges. In parallel, there is confusion, restlessness, excessive stimulation.

READ  Saline poisoning, diarrhea or vomiting

Also about the defeat of the substance of the brain talk to other characteristics that are not seen during the rotavirus:

  • mental disorders;
  • paresis (partial or incomplete paralysis);
  • paralysis.

Meningitis may give such complications – acute cerebral edema infectious-toxic shock, which is not the case with rotavirus infection.

With rotavirus faces every child. As the severity of the disease often is not significant, and the symptoms are erased, then the parents do not give much importance to the condition of the child. The disease passes without sequelae. A doctor only in severe cases long lasting bad feeling, fever and diarrhea. For the specialist it is not difficult to correctly differentiate the disease and to recommend treatment for the child and therapeutic measures.