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Rotavirus Impact: Stress for the Whole Family

Severe Diarrhea in Child Puts Emotional and Economic Strain on Families
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Comments of Parents continued...

The rotavirus affected the whole family, she notes.

The study found that parents on average took off work for two to three days, other children couldn't participate in activities, the diaper and disinfectant bill increased as well as doctor's visits, parents reported. "It has an emotional as well as an economic impact on the family," Mercon says.

Parents were scared that they weren't doing the right thing," she explains.

Despite advice from the medical profession that parents orally rehydrate children, 100% of the parents reported that it was impossible to get the child to drink enough liquids, she adds.

Some children ended up in the emergency room and received intravenous feedings, she says. Others, she commented, had unnecessary procedures - even spinal taps - performed on them in the emergency room.

The virus has a severe impact on the family members' lives. "Physicians need to understand this a little better. We need to change how we work with these parents," DeMuro says.

"This is not a benign disease," comments Donald Shifrin, MD, clinical professor of pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. "It lasts for a significant length of time and is significant in terms of morbidity."

This study shows the stress and anxiety the rotavirus can place on family members of the patient, he explains.

Vaccine on the Horizon

Mercon says a vaccine would go a long way to preventing this.

In 1998, a vaccine was developed and approved for sale by the FDA, but it was withdrawn from the market in 1999 due to risk of serious side effects. Currently there are other vaccine candidates that await approval for sale in the U.S.

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