Rotaviruses are a leading cause of severe diarrhea and dehydration among infants and young children. They cause the death of about 600 000 children worldwide annually. The rotavirus is highly contagious among children. It is transmitted by the faecal-oral and, possibly, respiratory route. Almost all kids have had a rotavirus infection by the age of five, but the most symptomatic episodes occur in children between the ages of 3 months and 2 years.
Rotavirus gastroenteritis is more common during winter and spring. The very first infection is the most severe one, because a child has not built up immunity to the virus. Even if a child has experienced a rotavirus infection, it doesn’t mean the resistance is already full. There are different strains of the virus that the child isn’t immune to.
Rotavirus gastroenteritis is a mild to severe disease and its symptoms include vomiting, watery diarrhea, and low-grade fever. Abdominal pain also occurs. Profuse watery diarrhea may appear even up to several times per day. Dehydration in rotavirus infections is more common than in most of those caused by bacteria and it is the most common cause of death related to rotaviruses. Symptoms of dehydration include lethargy, dry and cool skin, absence of tears when crying, dry or sticky mouth, sunken eyes or sunken fontanelle and extreme thirst.
Another issue that parents often do not take into consideration is malabsorption which may occur as a result of the destruction of enterocytes. It causes milk intolerance due to lactase deficiency, because destroyed enterocytes are not able to secrete lactase to the small intestine. Malabsorption may last for a couple of weeks and may cause further worsening of the child’s health state.
Treatment of acute rotavirus infection involves management of symptoms and, most importantly, maintenance of hydration by oral or, in more severe cases, intravenous rehydration. The only way to prevent rotavirus infections in children is prophylactic vaccination and encouraging children’s personal hygiene habits.
EXERCISE. CHOOSE TRUE OR FALSE.
1. Rotaviruses spread very easily.
2. The most endangered are children between the ages of 3 months and 2 years.
3. Bacteria cause the most severe form of diarrhea.
4. Rotaviruses may cause lactose intolerance which may last for weeks.
5. Rehydration is the most important procedure in rotavirus infections therapy.
• worldwide [ˈwɜrldˈwaɪd] – na całym świecie
• annually [ˈænyuəli] – corocznie
• faecal [ˈfikəl] – fekalny
• gastroenteritis [gæstroʊɛntəˈraɪtɪs] – zapalenie/nieżyt żołądka i jelit
• strain [streɪn] – szczep, odmiana
• profuse [prəˈfyus] – obfity
• lethargy [ˈlɛθərdʒi] – letarg, apatia, ospałość
• sticky [ˈstɪki] – lepki, gorący i wilgotny
• sunken [ˈsʌŋkən] – zapadnięty
• fontanelle [fɒntnˈɛl] – ciemiączko
• malabsorption [mæləbˈsɔrpʃən] – malabsorpcja, zaburzenia wchłaniania
• small intestine [smɔl ɪnˈtɛstɪn] – jelito cienkie
• habit [ˈhæbɪt] – nawyk
Correct answers: true, true, false, true, true
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