Primary care-based surveillance to estimate the burden of rotavirus gastroenteritis among children aged less than 5 years in six European countries

Eur J Pediatr. 2011 Feb;170(2):213-22. doi: 10.1007/s00431-010-1289-1. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


This observational, prospective study was undertaken to estimate the burden of rotavirus (RV) gastroenteritis (GE) leading to general practitioner (GP)/family paediatrician (FP) visits among children aged <5 years in Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. Children aged <5 years presenting with acute GE provided stool samples for rapid RV testing. RV+ samples were confirmed and typed by RT-PCR. Demographic and clinical data were collected for all RVGE episodes. Transmission patterns among other household children aged <5 years were also assessed. From November 2005 to May 2007, excluding data from the UK, 497/3,813 (13.0%) children aged <5 years presenting with acute GE to GP/FP and tested were RV+ by PCR. Most RVGE cases (69.1%) occurred in children aged <2 years, occurred between December and May (93.1%) and were moderate or severe by Vesikari score (92.9%). RV strain distribution varied between countries: G9P[8] was the most common type in Poland (54/76) and Spain (172/196), G1P[8] was predominant in the Czech Republic (56/64) and Italy (46/107), and G4P[8] and G1P[8] both prevailed in Germany (17/54 and 13/54, respectively). A total of 24/122 (19.7%) children aged <5 years resident in the same household as a PCR+ study participant also developed RVGE. Conclusion. This multinational epidemiological study in Europe shows that RV is easily transmitted among household children, with RVGE burden highest among children aged <2 years accessing primary healthcare for acute GE.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Feces / virology*
  • Female
  • Gastroenteritis / epidemiology
  • Gastroenteritis / virology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Observation
  • Primary Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rotavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Rotavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Rotavirus Infections / virology*