Fewer Pediatric Rotavirus Cases Reported this Season

Rotavirus cases in the current 2007-2008 season showed up much later than usual and have been less severe, overall, than during any previous season on record, according to an interim report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis in young children.  Each year in the U.S., roughly 410,000 physician office visits, 205,000-272,000 emergency department visits, and 20 to 60 toddler deaths are attributed to rotavirus.

Data collected around the United States this year indicate that rotavirus activity was delayed by three months, making it the latest onset in 15 years.  Hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and physician visits have also been substantially reduced at medical centers conducting prospective rotavirus surveillance.

In 2006, a new rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq, was recommended for routine immunization of U.S. infants at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.  The CDC has suggested that these latest changes in rotavirus activity may be attributable to widespread rotavirus vaccination.

Rotavirus is shed in the stool of infected persons and is highly contagious.  It can be spread by contaminated hands and objects. Children spread rotavirus both before and after they become sick with diarrhea, and can easily pass the virus to household members. 

According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, you or your child should seek medical advice regarding a possible rotavirus infection if you notice the following symptoms:

"Call your childs doctor if your child:

  • Has severe or bloody diarrhea
  • Has frequent episodes of vomiting for more than three hours
  • Has a temperature of 102 F or higher
  • Seems lethargic, irritable or in pain
  • Has signs or symptoms of dehydration — dry mouth, crying without tears, little or no urination, unusual sleepiness or unresponsiveness"

Call your doctor if you:

  • Arent able to keep liquids down for 24 hours
  • Have frequent episodes of vomiting for more than two days
  • Vomit blood
  • Have blood in your bowel movements
  • Have a temperature higher than 101 F
  • Have signs or symptoms of dehydration — excessive thirst, dry mouth, little or no urination, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness"

Previously on the DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Blog, we have posted articles related to:

  • New CDC immunization recommendations for people 18 and younger
  • Evidence of deception at the CDC regarding a link between vaccination and autism
  • HPV vaccination guidelines released by the American Cancer Society

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