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Rotavirus: A Common Infection
Dr. Susanna Kharit, head of the Department of Infectious Disease Prevention at the Russian Research Center for Children and Infectious Diseases, emphasizes that rotavirus infection occurs once or twice in a person’s lifetime.
The Impact on Children
In an interview with Gazeta.Ru, Dr. Kharit explains that the immune system of adults can quickly handle the infection, leading to what is commonly known as “I ate something wrong.” However, young children are more vulnerable to rotavirus. The disease can cause dehydration, resulting in potential damage to the heart, kidneys, and even convulsions. Hence, it is crucial for children to be vaccinated against rotavirus. Typically, children receive three doses of the vaccine from the age of six weeks to eight months, providing protection even if they are later infected with the virus.
Dr. Kharit notes that there is an increased spread of rotavirus infections in the spring and summer months, although occasional infections can occur during other seasons as well.
Transmission and Prevention
The primary modes of transmission for rotavirus are through feces and the mouth, and to a lesser extent through aerosols. Proper hand hygiene is imperative, as individuals who have recently been infected or are experiencing a mild infection continue to excrete the virus through their stool. Failure to wash hands after using the toilet can result in the transmission of the virus to surfaces such as door handles, phones, and food. Another common route of infection is through contact with unwashed hands or contaminated fruits and vegetables.