However, if identification of the infectious agent is required, a stool sample will be collected and analyzed for the presence of rotavirus, disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria, or parasites.
In other words, a child can catch a rotavirus infection if she puts her finger in her mouth after touching toys or things that have been contaminated by the stool of another infected child.
It is crucial that parents and children use excellent hand-washing technique after toileting and diaper changes to prevent further spread of rotavirus diarrhea throughout the family.
The healthcare provider should also give guidance concerning how long a child with rotavirus diarrhea should be kept home from daycare or school.
Research is underway involving vaccines that will decrease the risk of rotavirus infection, especially among infants and young children.
The main symptoms of the rotavirus infection are fever, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea (which can lead to severe dehydration).
Rotavirus infection is also known as infantile diarrhea or winter diarrhea, because it mainly targets infants and young children.
In the United States, more than 50,000 children are hospitalized and up to 125 die each year as a result of rotavirus infection.
The name rotavirus comes from the Latin word "rota" for wheel and is given because the viruses have a distinct wheel-like shape.
The four types of viruses that cause most viral gastroenteritis include rotavirus, adenovirus, calicivirus, and astrovirus.