Incidence and risk factors for community-acquired acute gastroenteritis in north-west Germany in 2004

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2009 Aug;28(8):935-43. doi: 10.1007/s10096-009-0729-1. Epub 2009 Mar 25.


In developed countries, acute gastroenteritis (AGE) is a major source of morbidity. However, only a few studies have estimated its incidence and the associated medical burden. This population-based study determined the incidence of community-acquired AGE patients seeking medical care and the relative role of various pathogens. Stool samples from patients with AGE presenting to a general practitioner (GP), pediatrician, or specialist in internal medicine for that reason were screened for various bacterial and viral enteropathogens. A control group was established as well. Incidences were calculated by the number of positive patients divided by the general population. The study was performed in north-west Germany in 2004. The incidence of AGE patients requiring medical consultation was 4,020/100,000 inhabitants. Children (<5 years of age) were at the highest risk (13,810/100,000 inhabitants). Of the patients, 6.6% were tested positive for an enteropathogenic bacteria and 17.7% for a viral agent. The predominant pathogens were norovirus (626/100,000) and rotavirus (270/100,000). Salmonella was the most frequently detected bacteria (162/100,000). The results presented confirm AGE and, specifically, AGE of viral origin as a major public health burden in developed countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / etiology
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Feces / virology
  • Female
  • Gastroenteritis / epidemiology*
  • Gastroenteritis / etiology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Viruses / classification
  • Viruses / isolation & purification
  • Young Adult