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Can Rotavirus Cause Injury and Death?


Many children infected with rotavirus recover at home and require only oral fluids to replace those lost through vomiting and diarrhea. If severe vomiting occurs, treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids may be necessary to ensure adequate hydration.

Untreated dehydration from loss of fluids and electrolytes can lead to shock, convulsions, and even death.1 Symptoms of dehydration include crying without tears, dry mouth, decreased urine output, excessive sleepiness or irritability, and dizziness.2

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhea among children worldwide. In 2013, rotavirus illness was estimated to cause 215,000 deaths globally, and most deaths from the infection occurred in developing countries.3

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about rotavirus and rotavirus vaccines by reading all sections in the Table of Contents, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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1 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. What is Rotavirus? In: Frequently Asked Questions About Rotavirus. No Date. Accessed Apr. 4, 2021.

2 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatment. In: Rotavirus. Mar. 26, 2021.

3 World Health Organization (WHO). Rotavirus.  In: Immunizations, Vaccines and Biologicals. October 2020.

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