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Number of rotavirus infections is increasing rapidly


More and more dangerous rotavirus infections

Infections with the rotavirus have increased significantly. The number of cases registered at the Robert Koch Institute rose last season from 24,000 to 37,420. The reasons for the increase are unclear.

Most common cause of gastrointestinal disorders in young children

As the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) explains on its portal "infektionsschutz.de", rotaviruses are "one of the most common causes of gastrointestinal diseases in young children". According to the experts, they are “highly contagious, which is why almost all children up to the age of 5 have already had an infection”. But you can get infected several times in the course of your life. According to health experts, the number of rotavirus infections in Germany has increased significantly compared to last year.

Infections with the rotavirus have increased nationwide

As reported by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), infections with the rotavirus have increased significantly in Germany.

In the past 2016/2017 season, there were 37,420 illnesses. In the comparable period a year earlier, there were only 24,000 illnesses.

The cases are recorded from October to September.

Such infections have also increased enormously in Lower Saxony, from 1,600 to 2,800 cases.

The reasons for the increase are unclear

According to the RKI, the reasons for the increase are unclear. The numbers fluctuate extremely from year to year.

For example, there were around 6,600 rotavirus diseases in Lower Saxony in the 2007/2008 season.

But you can protect yourself from it.

Disease can be particularly dangerous for young children

“Rotaviruses cause diarrhea, vomiting and fever. This can be particularly dangerous for infants and toddlers because they quickly lose a lot of fluid, ”said Thomas Wortmann, Managing Director of Barmer Health Insurance for Schleswig-Holstein in a statement.

“If the loss of fluid cannot be compensated for, the condition can sometimes be life-threatening,” says “infektionsschutz.de”.

"Fatigue, loss of appetite and abdominal pain are common side effects," said Birgit Dziuk, Managing Director of Barmer in Thuringia.

Highly contagious and extremely resistant

"Rotaviruses occur in the gastrointestinal tract of sick people and are transmitted fecal-orally primarily by smear infection, but also by contaminated water and food," writes the Lower Saxony State Health Office (NLGA) on its website.

The viruses are highly contagious and extremely resistant. The pathogens can survive outside the body for several days. A few virus particles are enough to trigger an infection.

Infected people excrete the pathogens for about a week, they get into the hands of adults or other children via the toilet or diapers, from there on door handles, on changing tables or toys.

“This sets off a textbook-like infection spiral. Hand hygiene is extremely important, ”said Wortmann.

Early vaccination for babies

In older children and adults, the disease usually does not take such a severe course because the immune system has been confronted with the pathogens several times and is trained accordingly.

The situation is different for infants and young children: a good half of those suffering from rotaviruses must be treated in the hospital.

The Standing Vaccination Committee and other health experts therefore advise swallowing vaccination against the Rotavirus, which consists of two to three vaccinations.

“Babies should start swallowing rotavirus at the age of six to twelve weeks. Then they are protected for about two to three years, exactly for the time when an infection can be particularly difficult, ”Wortmann explained. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Management of Diarrheal Disease in Children by Christopher Duggan for OPENPediatrics (August 2020).