Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Rotavirus antigen test

Definition

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

Alternative Names

Gastroenteritis - rotavirus antigen

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, line the diaper with plastic wrap. Position the plastic wrap to prevent urine and stool from mixing in order to get a better sample.

The sample should be collected while the diarrhea is occurring. Take the sample to the lab to be checked.

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

Rotavirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis ("stomach flu") in children. This test is done to diagnose a rotavirus infection.

Normal Results

Normally, rotavirus is not found in the stool.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your health care provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Rotavirus in the stool indicates a rotavirus infection is present.

Risks

There are no risks associated with this test.

Considerations

Because rotavirus is easily passed from person to person, take these steps to prevent the germ from spreading:

  • Wash your hands well after contact with a child who could be infected.
  • Disinfect any surface that has been in contact with stool.

Ask your provider about a vaccine to help prevent severe rotavirus infection in children under 8 months old.

Watch infants and children who have this infection closely for signs of dehydration.

References

Bass DM. Rotaviruses, calciviruses, and astroviruses. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 265.

Haines CF, Sears CL. Infectious enteritis and proctocolitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 110.

Semrad CE. Approach to the patient with diarrhea and malabsorption. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 140.

Zulfigar AB. Acute gastroenteritis in children. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 340.

Review Date:5/11/2016
Reviewed By:Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist with Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health
Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Read More

Images

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No