Six groups have been identified, three of which (groups A, B, and C) infect humans.

Rotaviruses cause acute gastroenteritis.( Infantile diarrhea, winter diarrhea, acute nonbacterial infectious gastroenteritis, and acute viral gastroenteritis are names applied to the infection caused by the most common and widespread group A rotavirus)

Rotavirus gastroenteritis is self-limiting with mild to severe disease characterized by vomiting, watery diarrhea, and low-grade fever. Infection is spread through contaminated hands, objects, or utensils. Infected food handlers may contaminate foods that require handling and no further cooking, such as salads, fruits, and hors d'oeuvres.

Specific diagnosis of the disease is made by identification of the virus in the patient's stool.


Group A rotavirus is endemic worldwide. It is the leading cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children, and accounts for about half of the cases requiring hospitalization

Group B rotavirus, 9also called adult diarrhea rotavirus or ADRV), has caused major epidemics of severe diarrhea affecting thousands in China.

Group C rotavirus is rare.

The incubation period ranges from 1-3 days. Symptoms start with vomiting followed by 4-8 days of diarrhea. Recovery is usually complete. However, severe diarrhea without fluid and electrolyte replacement may result in severe diarrhea and death. Childhood mortality is almost 1 million cases/year worldwide.

Humans of all ages are susceptible to rotavirus infection.

Children 6 months to 2 years of age, premature infants, the elderly, and the immunocompromised are particularly prone to more severe symptoms caused by infection with group A rotavirus e disease.