Medics believe that there is not a baby above 3 years old who has never caught rotavirus! Unfortunately, people know very little about such a dangerous disease and its treatment in babies.
Rotavirus infection is classified as a disease of “dirty hands”; it is usually communicated orally through food-stuff.
Rotavirus: the Facts
Australian scientists first discovered the rotavirus in 1973. According to statistics:
Practically 100% of all infants under 3 years old have been infected by rotavirus at least once in their life. But, alas, a lot of babies from under-developed countries don’t survive this disease.
The most obvious symptom of this intestinal infection is watery diarrhea. Moreover, 95% of such cases are usually rotavirus.
The most dangerous age for this malady is between 6 months till 2 years old.
The word “rotavirus” came from Latin word “rota” which is “a wheel” as far as this virus looks like a wheel under the microscope.
It is interesting that a condition of life and basics of hygiene doesn’t affect the disease. In other words, babies all over the world are infected by rotavirus once in a life irrespective of life conditions they grow in.
Annually, rotavirus affects 125 million infants all over the world. 2.5 million end up in hospitals. Approximately, half a million children die of rotavirus and rotaviral diarrhea annually.
Apart from a common sickness rate of rotavirus among children under 3 years old is the same one everywhere (living standard doesn’t affect the spread of disease), it should be mentioned that the level of fatal ends differ significantly. Most of rotavirus cases fall to Western and Central Africa countries or Asian regions. In other words, babies from poor countries with undeveloped medicine and poor feeding die of this disease most often.
The infant mortality map of rotavirus infection of the latest 3 years
Statistic includes infants under 3 years old. The information shows 100,000 infected babies. For instance, infant mortality of rotavirus makes up between 100-1000 babies for each 100,000 of infected ones on average in most African countries. And to the contrary: the lowest rate of rotavirus mortality falls to North America countries (USA, Canada) and Australia. However, according the statistics, the “lowest rate” makes up 65,000 of babies per year.
Today, medicine knows different types of rotavirus one can be infected during their life. Unfortunately, the most severe form falls to the youngest infants.
Rotavirus is Not Intestinal Influenza
It is not correct to call rotavirus intestinal influenza. E. O. Komarovskii, a well-known pediatrician comments that influenza virus is being multiplied and developed on mucous membrane of respiratory tract only! Thus, rotavirus has nothing to do with influenza viruses at all.
In the case the rotavirus affects the body of a baby, it reaches the intestine over 2-3 days of incubation period and provokes acute diarrhea. One can determine rotavirus with the naked eye: profuse and watery discharges without blood. In case you saw some blood, then it is a symptom of some other infection.
Diarrhea in infants is a bad signal. As far as diarrhea provokes a fulminant dehydration, it can result in fainting or even death! The smaller the weight, the more risky the situation. Moreover, sometimes parents don’t know how to give a drink to a baby as far as he rejects a bottle.
It is better to call an ambulance! In case a baby doesn’t drink by himself, it is necessary to inject it intravenously.
How to know a baby has a critical dehydration?
- Dry tongue;
- No tears while crying;
- Urination absence for more than 3 hours;
- Sweat absence.
In general, diarrhea and dehydration lead to some secondary signs:
- High temperature;
- Respiration problems;
- High probability of pneumonia developing in 2 – 3 days.
Doctor Komarovskii says that medical kit should contain peroral rehydration agents which are the most important drugs if you have a baby. These are specific salt powders to be diluted with water to be given a baby in case of dehydration.
Thus, the principle symptoms of rotavirus infection are:
- Sickness, vomiting and lack of appetite;
- Watery diarrhea;
- High temperature;
- Signs of dehydration;
- Convulsions and fainting.
However, only laboratory feces analysis diagnoses the “rotavirus infection”.
How to Treat
First of all let’s pay attention to some wrong ways of treatment: being a viral infection, rotavirus shouldn’t be helped by means of antibiotics. You can use them in the next 3 cases rotavirus has no concern with.
Diarrhea cases in infants and use of antimicrobial agents, recommended by World Health Organization (WHO):
- Blood clot in diarrhea;
- Cholera diagnosis;
- In case diarrhea lasts more than 14 days and the analysis of discharges showed helminth eggs.
The most important is to prevent bodily dehydration by any means. Thus, it is recommended to use peroral rehydration drugs: saline solution packets one can find in any drugstore. Follow the instruction and dilute this powder with water and give it a baby.
If your baby is too small you can water a baby with a syringe (without a needle of course!). If this method doesn’t work, call an ambulance!
You can also prepare rehydration agents yourself.
Take 1 l of water and dilute 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Feed your baby with this solution (the amount of water can be defined according to urinary frequency – once in three hours at the minimum).
Use of peroral rehydration agents are the only way to treat the rotavirus infection, being approved by the World Health Organization.
A Diet Peculiarity Under Rotavirus Infection
When rotavirus provokes inflammation in intestine, it puts down a production of some ferment: it leads to reduction of lactase – a ferment to spit lactose. When a treatment begins, lactose output is also recovering gradually (15-20 days).
For example: a baby caught a virus. His feels worse, no appetite and his body is dehydrated. When we give a baby the saline solution, a baby is getting better and his appetite is regained. It should be noted that the lactose output is still in process of normalizing. If you give your baby a little milk, it will provoke the diarrhea again!
If your baby feels better you can feed it with soya milk formula. If a baby is still suckling, leave only 2-3 feedings a day. The rest should be replaced with soya milk (free of lactose). In case you feed a baby with a real food, exclude diary products.
Common products are allowed in a small amount of course!
Vaccination for Rotavirus in Infants Under 1 Year Old
The only preventive measure of rotavirus is vaccination. It is reasonable to vaccinate a baby between the 6th and the 32nd weeks from birth. Such vaccinations are safe without any negative side effects. Just put it in a baby’s mouth.
In 2009, the World Health Organization recommended to include this vaccination against rotavirus infection in the national immunization record card all over the world. To date 69 countries agreed to do it. Russia also joined in March 2014.