What is Rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. It usually affects children between the ages of six months to two years.

Most common signs and symptoms (lasting from four to six days):
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain  

How is Rotavirus spread?

It is found in the intestinal tract and is most commonly spread in feces when the infected person does not properly wash their hands after using the bathroom.

Rotavirus usually takes about one to four days for a person to develop symptoms once they come in contact with rotavirus. Infected people can spread the virus before they’re sick and up to eight days or as long as 30 days in immune-compromised people.


There is not treatment for rotavirus because antibiotics are not used for infections caused by viruses. Monitor for severe dehydration and treat as needed.

Managing rotavirus: What to do

  • Properly wash hands.
  • Apply an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly soiled.
  • People with rotavirus-like symptoms should stay home until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Washroom and diaper change areas should be cleaned after each use with an intermediate level disinfectant.
  • Dispose of feces and contaminated material properly.
  • Consider vaccination  








Quick Reference

Outbreaks usually happen in winter and spring in Canada.

People ill with diarrhea or vomiting should be isolated from others.

Fever, vomiting and watery diarrhea that occurs with rotavirus may lead to dehydration.