Rotavirus is one of the most common causes of severe infectious diarrhea in children. The virus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route. It infects and damages the cells that line the small intestine and causes gastroenteritis which is often called "stomach flu" despite having no relation to influenza.
It causes discomfort with accompanying cramps, dehydration and fever. While this may be an inconvenient hassle to parents in developed countries, it can mean death for children in developing countries.
Rotavirus is usually an easily managed disease of childhood, but worldwide more than 450,000 children under five years of age still die from rotavirus infection each year.
Hundreds of thousands of children die from rotavirus each year in developing countries. This novel treatment can stop rotavirus in its tracks, and researchers hope to begin tests to determine using the method on a wide range of viruses.
Rotavirus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, via contact with contaminated hands, surfaces and objects, and possibly by the respiratory route.
Viral diarrhea is highly contagious. The faeces of an infected person can contain more than 10 trillion infectious particles per gram fewer than 100 of these are required to transmit infection to another person.