Severe rotavirus gastroenteritis is common in children under 5 years of age. A literature review was performed to investigate the economic and psychosocial impact of rotavirus infection in children in this age group. We retrieved 56 articles on the economic burden of the disease in Europe, 18 of them reported data from Spain; 8 articles were retrieved analysing its psychosocial impact. In Spain, rotavirus is responsible for 14% to 30% of all cases of gastroenteritis, and a quarter of these require hospitalisation. It is also associated with high use of health care resources (emergency and primary care visits). Rotavirus gastroenteritis costs the Spanish national health system EUR 28 million a year and causes productivity loss in two-thirds of parents (mean of 4 days). Taking into account these costs, it was estimated that implementing universal vaccination could prevent 76% to 95% of hospital admissions due to rotavirus gastroenteritis, as well as reduce emergency and paediatric visits, nosocomial infections, and days missed from work (77% reduction). Rotavirus gastroenteritis also has a considerable psychosocial impact on the family, although it is difficult to compare results due to the diversity of study designs and the low specificity of the measurement tools used. It also causes high stress among parents, adding to their workload and adversely affecting their quality of life.
Keywords: Economic impact; Gastroenteritis; Psychosocial impact; Rotavirus.
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