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Eur J Pediatr. 2009 Nov;168(11):1343-8. doi: 10.1007/s00431-009-0934-z. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

A 4-year study on clinical characteristics of children hospitalized with rotavirus gastroenteritis.

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University Children's Hospital (UKBB), P.O. Box, 4005 Basel, Switzerland.


Rotavirus (RV) is a frequent cause of severe gastroenteritis (GE) in children. With the licensure of new RV vaccines, data on the burden of disease are important regarding immunization strategies. We reviewed the medical records of children hospitalized with RV infection in our institution between July 2002 and March 2006. Relevant data were extracted in a standardized fashion from records of hospitalized children with a positive RV antigen test in a stool sample. Severity of disease was graded by the 20-point Vesikari score. Population data were obtained from the Federal Office of Statistics. Six hundred eighty-six RVGE were identified and records of 608 hospitalizations (in 607 children) were available. In 539 (89%) cases, RVGE was the primary reason for hospitalization and 69 (11%) were nosocomial infections; yearly peaks occurred between February and May. Cumulative incidence of RVGE was 26.7/1,000 children <3 years of age. Median age of 539 children (55.6% male) with primary RVGE was 1.4 years and median stay in the hospital for both community acquired and nosocomial RVGE was 4 days (interquartile range 3-5). Thirtypercent and 94% of RV hospitalizations were in children <1 and <3 years of age, respectively. Mean Vesikari score was 15 (range 6-20; 96% >11). Intravenous fluids were administered in 378 (70%) patients, 130 (24%) patients were rehydrated via nasogastral tube, and 31 (5.7%) received rehydration by mouth. RVGE causes a substantial burden in children with an estimated risk for hospitalization due to RVGE of one in 37 children <3 years of age.

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