Four children dead from rotavirus infection

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Four young children have died from acute diarrhoea after being infected with rotavirus, which causes infant enteritis, the Disease Control Department warns.

Assadang Ruay-achin, deputy director-general and spokesman, on Tuesday warned parents to look after their young children well, particularly infants, who are most vulnerable to infection by the virus.

Four children have now died from the virus, three of them under five, he said.

The virus causes severe diarrhoea, vomiting and quick dehydration. Rotavirus infection is mostly found in children aged 7-12 months and the infection is most prevalent during dry and cold months, from November to January, Dr Assadang said.

The virus spreads through close contact between people. Since rotavirus can live on objects for several days, children can get sick if they touch an object contaminated with the virus and put their hand in their mouth or consume contaminated food or drinks, he said.

Symptoms will appear a few days after infection, with fever and vomiting. If the infection is not severe these symptoms will disappear in 2-3 days. But the most common symptoms are stomach pains and diarrhoea, which can last up to 10 days, Dr Assadang said.

There is no specific medicine to treat rotavirus infection, but there are oral vaccines to help prevent this childhood disease, he said.

On Monday, popular actress Nusaba Punnakan posted on Instagram she had just recovered from severe diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and stomach pains caused by the virus. It took her 10 days to recover. She also warned people to regularly wash their hands and avoid contact with potentially contaminated items.