Rotavirus is the major cause of diarrheal illness in young children worldwide and causes 10-20% of deaths due to gastroenteritis in developing countries.This highly contagious virus almost always infects the children before their 5th birthday. The most common symptoms associated with this infection includes, severe diarrhea, fever and vomiting.
Know the Virus:
The rotavirus is a member of the Reoviridae family of viruses and contains double-stranded RNA enclosed by a double-shelled outer layer (capsid). Infection with different strains of the virus is possible, so it is common to have several separate rotavirus infections in childhood.Rotavirus infects the bowels, causing severe inflammation of the stomach and bowels (gastroenteritis). It is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children throughout the world and results in death of about 500,000 children worldwide annually. The name rotavirus comes from the characteristic wheel-like appearance of the virus when viewed by electron microscopy (the name rotavirus is derived from the Latin rota, meaning "wheel").
Since rotavirus infection is highly contagious, those who are around infected people are at high risk of infection. For this reason, children in group day-care settings are at risk. However, most children will become infected with rotavirus by 5 years of age.
Signs and Symptoms:
Symptoms generally persist for three to nine days. Immunity from repeated infection is incomplete after a rotavirus infection, but repeated infections tend to be less severe than the original infection.Rotavirus infection can be associated with severe dehydration in infants and children. Severe dehydration can lead to death in rare cases.Parents should monitor their children and should also be aware of symptoms of dehydration.
Symptoms of Dehydration:
dry, cool skin,
absence of tears when crying,
dry or sticky mouth,
sunken eyes or sunken fontanel (the soft spot on the head of infants), and
The diagnosis of rotavirus may be made by rapid detection of rotavirus in stool specimens. Strains of rotavirus may be further characterized by special testing with enzyme immunoassay or polymerase chain reaction, but such testing is not commonly available or necessary.
There is no specific treatment for rotavirus. The symptomatic treatment consists of increased fluid intake (oral rehydration) to prevent dehydration.
Vaccination is the most effective preventive measure and is very effective in preventing severe rotavirus disease in young children and infants.There are two rotavirus vaccines known as RotaTeq and Rotarix. Both are given orally and do not require an injection. The rotavirus vaccines are most effective if the first dose is given before age 15 weeks, and all doses should be complete by 8 months of age.
RotaTeq (RV5) is given on a schedule of three doses at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months.
Rotarix (RV1) is given on a schedule of two doses at ages 2 months and 4 months.
Side effects of the vaccine are very uncommon. As with all vaccines, rare allergic reactions may occur.
Flu or Influenza is the seasonal virus that affects almost everyone at least once a year. Accompanied by coughs, high fever and runny nose, this virus can transfer from one person to another as it is airborne. This symptoms manifest in the patient after one to two days of exposure and can last for a week at most. Although, influenza is not life threatening and can be controlled easily, however, if left unchecked and untreated, it can lead to complications. Especially people who are asthmatic, or low immunity, can end up with pneumonia, asthma attacks and in severe cases heart failure.
Why should my child get it?
The influenza shots, or ‘jabs’ are a preventive measure to stop your child from catching the virus from their surroundings and to stop him from spreading it around as well. These shots will save you a lot of sleepless nights, and restless discomfort for your child as well.
When shall I get my child vaccinated?
If your child is older than 6 months, then you should get them the shots every year. However, some kids, with lower immunity levels or who are physically weak may require the shots twice a year to keep them protected from the yearly flares. For pregnant mothers, it is a good practice to get yourself vaccinated during pregnancy as it will keep your child safe for a few months after they are born
What are the side-effects?
There are no serious side-effects of the vaccine. Apart from the fact that the children may fees a slight bit of soreness and discomfort on their arm or leg where the shot was administered. This muscle ache has nothing to do with the actual flu or the virus, but is due to the injection itself.
What is polio?Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by polio virus. Polio virus enters the body through the mouth. It can cause some serious illness;
Paralysis (can’t move arm or leg).
Meningitis (irritation of the lining of the brain).
It can kill people who get it, usually by paralyzing the muscles that help them breathe. Polio used to be very common in the United States. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people a year before the vaccine was invented.
Why get vaccinated?Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) can prevent polio.History: A 1916 polio epidemic in the United States killed 6,000 people and paralyzed 27,000 more. In the early 1950’s there were more than 25,000 cases of polio reported each year. Polio vaccination was begun in 1955. By 1960 the number of reported cases had dropped to about 3,000, and by 1979 there were only about 10. The success of polio vaccination has sparked a world-wide effort to eliminate polio.Today:Polio has been eliminated from the United States. But the disease is still common in some parts of the world. It would only take one person infected with polio virus coming from another country to bring the disease back here if we were not protected by vaccine. If the effort to eliminate the disease from the world is successful, some day we won’t need polio vaccine. Until then, we need to keep getting our children vaccinated because Immunization against polio virus triggers an excellent immune response and long-lasting immunity to all types of polio virus.When shall children get vaccinated? IPV is a shot, given in the leg or arm, depending on age. It may be given at the same time as other vaccines.ChildrenChildren get 4 doses of IPV, at these ages:
A dose at 2 months
A dose at 4 months
A dose at 6-18 months
A booster dose at 4-6 years (several different vaccines in the same shot) contain IPV.
Children getting these vaccines may get one more (5th) dose of polio vaccine. This is not a problem.
What are the risks from IPV?Some people who get IPV get a sore spot where the shot was given. IPV has not been known to cause serious problems, and most people don’t have any problems at all with it. However, any medicine could cause a serious side effect, such as a severe allergic reaction but the risk of polio vaccine causing serious harm is extremely small.Some people should not get IPV or should wait.These people should not get IPV:
Anyone with a life-threatening allergy to any component of IPV, including the antibiotics neomycin, streptomycin or polymyxin B, should not get polio vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
Anyone who had a severe allergic reaction to a previous polio shot should not get another one.
These people should wait:
Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should usually wait until they recover before getting polio vaccine. People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated.