BACKGROUND: The availability of comprehensive, up-to-date epidemiologic data would improve the understanding of the disease burden and clinical consequences of rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE) in Europe. METHODS: During the 2004-2005 season, a prospective, multicenter, observational study was conducted in children <5 years of age in primary care, emergency department, and hospital settings in selected areas of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The clinical consequences of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) and RVGE were estimated. RESULTS: The estimated percentage of children with rotavirus-positive AGE admitted to a hospital was 10.4%-36.0%, compared with 2.1%-23.5% of children with rotavirus-negative AGE. In France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, the relative risk of hospitalization was statistically significantly higher for children with rotavirus-positive AGE than for those with rotavirus-negative AGE. Children with rotavirus-positive AGE were more likely to have lethargy, fever, vomiting, and dehydration, and, therefore, more severe disease than were children with rotavirus-negative AGE. Dehydration was up to 5.5 times more likely in children with rotavirus-positive AGE than in those with rotavirus-negative AGE. CONCLUSIONS: Rotavirus-positive AGE is more severe, causes more dehydration, and results in more emergency department consultations and hospitalizations than does rotavirus-negative AGE. Variations in the management of RVGE seen across study areas could be explained by differences in health care systems. Routine rotavirus vaccination of infants could significantly reduce the substantial burden of RVGE and would have major benefits for potential patients, their families, and health care providers.
2007. Vol. 195 Suppl 1, S26-35 p.