Common symptoms of rotavirus include diarrhoea characterised by watery stools, vomitting and fever. The Gastroenterology Service at KK Women's and Children's Hospital tells more.
Rotavirus: one of the most common causes of GI problems in kids
Rotavirus infection is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems in children in Singapore. In fact, almost all children get infected by the time they are five. They can get it more than once, but the first infection is usually the worst.
Common symptoms of a rotavirus infection include diarrhoea characterised by watery stools, vomiting and fever. These can be accompanied by nausea, abdominal cramps and a refusal to eat, says
Professor Phua Kong Boo, Senior Consultant at the
Gastroenterology Service of
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the
Parents should watch out because the infection can get serious. A recent KKH study led by Prof Phua found that rotavirus was the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in children below the age of five. Rotavirus accounted for nearly 40 per cent of severe gastroenteritis-related hospitalisations in Singapore.
Prof Phua observes: “The most number of children hospitalised for rotavirus gastroenteritis were aged between 13 and 24 months, followed by those aged 0-12 months. The average hospital stays lasted up to three to four days.”
As rotavirus infection can easily lead to severe dehydration, over 60 per cent of hospitalised children eventually need an intravenous drip for rehydration. “Severe dehydration can be dangerous and life-threatening. The younger the child, the higher the risk,” warns Prof Phua.
Yet most local parents do not know enough about the virus. Actually, up to 40 per cent of parents had never even heard of the rotavirus, according to another KKH study conducted in 2010. So what can parents do?
See next page for 3 things about rotavirus you need to know.