17 Rotavirus

17.8 Public health measures

Rotavirus cannot be diagnosed solely on clinical presentation; stool antigen testing is required. However, often testing is not performed because treatment is for symptoms and for dehydration. Treatment is supportive, and oral rehydration is preferred. (For further details on management, see Starship Clinical Guidelines: Gastroenteritis, at Pedialyte is the preferred oral rehydration solution in New Zealand. Early initiation of re-feeding is also important.49

Prevention of spread is by contact precautions, including careful handwashing. In an early childhood service setting where there has been a child known to have had a rotavirus infection, the surfaces should be washed with soap and water. Disinfectants (eg, 70 percent ethanol) inactivate rotavirus and may help to prevent disease transmission resulting from contact with environmental surfaces.44