Astrovirus can cause diarrheal illness (gastroenteritis). Infants and young children are most likely to have diarrhea caused by astroviruses, but the infection also occurs in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Although it can cause symptoms similar to other common viral infections, diarrheal illness from an astrovirus infection is generally much less severe than those caused by rotavirus and norovirus. It also rarely requires any medical treatment.
While mild diarrhea is the main symptom astroviruses cause, a person who gets sick may also have other common symptoms of gastroenteritis, including:
- Stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
- Body aches
- There is no vaccine for astrovirus
- Personal hygiene and decontamination of outbreak settings are important to reducing transmission and infection
- Individuals can continue to shed astrovirus in their feces several days after illness resolves, and so should continue to take precautions after recovering from overt illness.
Potential treatment options:
- There is no anti-viral treatment for astrovirus infection, and astroviral disease rarely requires hospitalization
- However, young children who are at risk due to preexisting malnutrition or illness should be treated with oral rehydration therapy (ORT) to avoid severe consequences of gastroenteritis. ORT is also used for rotaviral infections and other diarrheal diseases, such as cholera.
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