ro·​ta·​vi·​rus ˈrō-tə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce rotavirus (audio)
: any of a genus (Rotavirus) of reoviruses that have a three-layered protein capsid with no outer lipid envelope when mature and that include one (species Rotavirus A) causing epidemics of severe and sometimes fatal diarrhea in infants and young children

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The instructions for RotaTeq, the vaccine for rotavirus, urge caution when administering it to infants in homes with immunodeficient people. Nate Trela, USA TODAY, 31 May 2023 In South Africa Aspen Pharmacare, one of the few serious pharmaceutical players in Africa before Covid, received an infusion of $30 million in philanthropic funds to build up a production process for four of the main childhood vaccines, including shots for pneumonia and rotavirus. Stephanie Nolen, New York Times, 25 Apr. 2023 But other viruses, such as rotavirus (especially in children), adenovirus, sapovirus, and astrovirus, may also cause the illness.1 Despite the name, the stomach flu doesn't have anything to do with influenza. Anne Harding, Health, 9 Mar. 2023 And with a simple pill, mini antibodies could be delivered directly to the gut, which could help to block a number of pathogens, for example rotavirus, that enter the body through the digestive tract. Christina Szalinski, Discover Magazine, 22 Feb. 2023 The pediatric death count for Covid-19 exceeds the numbers for diseases like hepatitis A, chickenpox and the diarrhea-causing rotavirus before vaccines become available protecting against the conditions, CDC officials have said. Jared S. Hopkins, WSJ, 17 June 2022 Veterinarians regularly inoculate animals—both pets and those in natural habitats—against a range of diseases, including rabies, hepatitis and the rotavirus. Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, 27 May 2021 Eventually, two newer rotavirus vaccines with a lower risk of complications were developed. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 14 Apr. 2021 Examples of vaccines that can be lyophilized include shots for preventing shingles or rotavirus. Jared S. Hopkins, WSJ, 30 Mar. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rotavirus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin, from Latin rota wheel + New Latin virus

First Known Use

1974, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rotavirus was in 1974

Dictionary Entries Near rotavirus

Cite this Entry

“Rotavirus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


ro·​ta·​vi·​rus ˈrōt-ə-ˌvī-rəs How to pronounce rotavirus (audio)
capitalized : a genus of reoviruses that are causative agents of gastroenteritis and that include one (species Rotavirus A) causing epidemics of severe and sometimes fatal diarrhea in infants and young children

Note: Viruses of the genus Rotavirus have a virion with a three-layered protein capsid lacking an outer lipid envelope when mature and a core of 11 discrete segments of double-stranded RNA.

: any virus of the genus Rotavirus
rotaviral adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!