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Rotavirus Antigen Test

Definition

The rotavirus antigen test detects rotavirus in the feces. Rotavirus is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in children.

How the test is performed

There are many ways to collect stool samples. You can catch the stool on plastic wrap that is loosely placed over the toilet bowl and held in place by the toilet seat. Then you put the sample into a clean container. One type of test kit supplies a special toilet tissue to collect the sample, which is then placed in a container.

For infants and young children wearing diapers, try lining the diaper with plastic wrap. If the plastic wrap is positioned properly, it will help prevent urine and stool from mixing to provide a better sample.

The sample should be collected during the acute phase of the infection, which is the period in which diarrhea is occurring.

The sample is taken to the laboratory for evaluation.

How to prepare for the test

No special preparation is necessary for this test.

How the test will feel

The test involves normal defecation.

Why the test is performed

This test is performed to diagnose a rotavirus infection.

See: Viral gastroenteritis for more information.

Normal Values

Normally, rotavirus is not found in the stool.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What abnormal results mean

Rotavirus in the stool indicates a rotavirus infection is present.

What the risks are

There are no risks associated with this test.

Special considerations

Because rotavirus is easily transmitted from person to person, thoroughly wash your hands after contact with a child who is infected or thought to be infected. Disinfect any surface that has been in contact with stool.

Monitor infants and children for signs of dehydration.

References

Kapikian AZ. Rotaviruses, noroviruses, and other gastrointestinal viruses. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 403.

Bresee J. Rotaviruses. In: Long SS, ed. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 216.

Review Date: 4/12/2010

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Information developed by A.D.A.M., Inc. regarding tests and test results may not directly correspond with information provided by UCSF Medical Center. Please discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.