Clinical and Epidemiologic Features of Viral Gastroenteritis in Hospitalized Children: An 11-Year Surveillance in Palermo (Sicily)

Viruses. 2022 Dec 22;15(1):41. doi: 10.3390/v15010041.


In order to acquire information regarding viral agents and epidemiologic features of severe paediatric Viral Acute Gastroenteritis (VAGE) across multiple seasons in the pre-rotavirus-vaccine era, the epidemiologic characteristics of VAGE were investigated among paediatric patients hospitalized in a major Sicilian paediatric hospital from 2003 to 2013. Overall, 4725 children were observed and 2355 (49.8%) were diagnosed with a viral infection: 1448 (30.6%) were found positive to rotavirus, 645 (13.7%) to norovirus, 216 (4.6%) to adenovirus, and 46 (0.97%) to astrovirus. Viral infections showed different patterns of hospitalization in terms of age at risk (younger for rotavirus and adenovirus infections), seasonality (increased risk in winter for rotavirus and norovirus), trend over time (reduced risk in 2011-2013 for norovirus and rotavirus) and major diagnostic categories (digestive diseases more frequent in adenovirus and astrovirus but not in norovirus). This study increases general knowledge of VAGE epidemiology and contributes to suggest some a priori diagnostic criteria that could help clinicians to identify and treat viral agents responsible for gastroenteritis in hospital settings.

Keywords: Italy; adenovirus; astrovirus; children; norovirus; rotavirus; viral gastroenteritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae
  • Adenoviridae Infections* / epidemiology
  • Adenovirus Infections, Human* / epidemiology
  • Astroviridae*
  • Caliciviridae Infections* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized
  • Enteritis*
  • Enterovirus Infections*
  • Feces
  • Gastroenteritis* / virology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Rotavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Rotavirus*
  • Sicily
  • Virus Diseases* / epidemiology

Grants and funding

Publication costs supported by the FFR2021 funds of the University of Palermo assigned to Prof. Emanuele Amodio, Simona De Grazia and Giovanni M. Giammanco.