According to figures of WHO every year 215000 children around the world, of the age below 5 years die from dehydration due to diarrhea majority of which is induced by untreatable rotavirus infection. Researchers from Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University (GSU) at Atlanta have recently identified microorganisms in the intestine that can prevent and cure infections induced by rotavirus infections. The findings of this study have been published in scientific journal Cell. Study author Andrew Gewirtz told that this study revealed that a big determinant of an individual’s propensity to contract rotavirus infection is composition of gut bacteria.
The rotavirus got its name for Latin word “rota or wheel” as the virus is round in shape and affects infants and young children and it spreads easily. The virus can transfer easily when an infected person coughs or sneezes or touches surfaces and objects with unwashed hands which contaminate those areas. Virus can also spread among people living together and using same counters, sinks, toys, tools and utensils. Future infections cannot be prevented through vaccine or having had the disease as infant. The CDC figures reveal that rotavirus vaccine has been able to prevent 40000 – 50000 hospitalizations across the country every year.
Symptoms of the disease include severe watery diarrhea, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain which lasts for 3 – 8 days. Adequate supply of clean drinking water and administration of body fluids prevents dehydration related life threatening situation. But this situation becomes grim in locations where there is scarcity of drinking water in low income areas of the world. GSU researchers say that the clearance of this virus is dependent on adaptive immunity and they discovered this by accidentally creating immunodeficient mice that were resistant to virus. They tested their hypothesis of selective microbes that could offer them protection by cohousing and fecal transplant. They discovered that Segmented Filamentous Bacteria which is a single bacterial species determines an individual’s resistance to rotavirus infection.