Dr. Magdalena Baimakova, MD: Rotavirus infections are most severe in children under 5 years old

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Dr. Magdalena Baimakova, MD: Rotavirus infections are most severe in children under 5 years old
Dr. Magdalena Baimakova, MD: Rotavirus infections are most severe in children under 5 years old

Today we will discuss the main features of rotavirus gastroenteritis. Our interlocutor is Dr. Magdalena Baimakova, d.m. - chief assistant at the "Infectious Diseases" Department at the Military Medical Academy - Sofia. In 2008, he graduated from Medical University-Sofia. Since January 2014, he has acquired the speci alty "Infectious Diseases". In February 2016, he acquired the educational and scientific degree "Doctor" in the scientific speci alty "Infectious Diseases". He is undergoing training in "Infectious Diseases" at "Lausanne University Hospital" (CHUV), Switzerland. Dr. Baimakova is the independent author of 1 monograph and the author of over 70 scientific publications in Bulgarian and foreign scientific journals. Winner of the "Young Doctor of 2015", "Young Doctor of 2017", "Digitally Active Doctor of 2017" and "For Women in Science 2018" awards

Dr. Baimakova, are rotavirus infections the ones that most often cause acute viral diarrhea?

- Yes, they are definitely among the most common causes of diarrhea. It is good for people to know that diarrhea is a condition in which three or more mushy stools are observed within a 24-hour period. Most gastroenteritis caused by viruses is a self-limiting condition, with symptoms usually resolving within a week or so. But in recent years, with the emergence of some multi-resistant intestinal microorganisms, cases of more severe intestinal infections have also been observed.

In your scientific developments, you define these infections as diseases of marked he alth and social significance. Why?

- It can be said that rotavirus gastroenteritis has serious he alth and social significance, as it most often affects children up to 5 years of age. This leads to great anxiety for their parents, since rotavirus infections can cause both physical discomfort and temporary psycho-emotional disorders. In addition, it should not be forgotten that the therapy for these infections is also associated with the expenditure of a certain financial resource

I think that all these prerequisites are sufficient reason to say that rotavirus infections have their he alth and social significance.


Can you provide any statistics regarding the incidence in our country?

- Over the years, statistics on rotavirus infections have varied widely. For example, the registered incidence in our country of rotavirus gastroenteritis per 100,000 people over the past three years is as follows: 26.12 cases per 100,000 in 2015; 30, 64 cases per 100 thousand for 2016; 40, 52 cases per 100 thousand for 2017. Accordingly, at the end of this year we will find out what the incidence was for 2018. But as can be seen from the indicated indicators, a certain increase in cases is noticeable.

How does a rotavirus infection start and how does it progress?

- Usually the illness starts with vomiting and high fever for 2-3 days, followed by watery diarrhea that lasts for 4-5 days.

Vomiting is a leading and long-lasting symptom, which is longer in children and shorter in adults. Excretion of the virus in the feces continues for about 6 to 10 days and more. Most often, rotavirus infection in adults is mild, but in children, as I already mentioned, a much more severe clinical picture is observed throughout the period of illness.

Dr. Baimakova, what is done when the first complaints characteristic of this infection appear? What should parents keep in mind?

- First of all, don't panic. Second, it is good to give more fluids to the child and to the sick person in general. A good option is the intake of light foods in the form of soups and stews. Third, if parents cannot control the condition of their sick child, it is best to seek specialized medical help.

It is good to know that the main therapeutic approach in rotavirus infections is rehydration therapy. Or, generally speaking, to restore the body's water-s alt balance. This is achieved through various rehydration solutions, and in more severe cases they are administered intravenously. The prognosis in the developed countries of Europe and North America is very good and there are few deaths from rotavirus gastroenteritis. The picture is different in the countries of Africa and Asia - there is a very high death rate from this infection.

As with any disease, in this case it is important to emphasize the prevention of rotavirus infections. What does it mean?

- Prevention is mainly related to good personal hygiene - frequent hand washing, washing fruits and vegetables before consumption, maintaining good personal hygiene. Of course, the best prevention remains vaccination. This would largely save young children from the severe forms of rotavirus gastroenteritis. I would strongly recommend that parents get their children vaccinated against rotavirus gastroenteritis. I did the same with my little daughter. Getting the vaccine is a responsibility to our children's he alth.

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