ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:: Seasonal rotavirus (RV) epidemics partly overlap with those of other common childhood infections thereby generating enormous - but poorly quantified - pressure on hospital resources during winter and spring. We assessed RV contribution to seasonal excess in all-cause pediatric hospitalizations and RV hospitalizations incidence rate in an observational study. METHODS:: The study was conducted among pediatric wards in 3 general hospitals and one pediatric tertiary care center. Numbers of RV hospitalizations were determined from 5 year data on confirmed RV hospitalizations and adjusted for RV underreporting, assessed through active surveillance for acute gastroenteritis during the 2011 RV season. Incidence rate and RV contribution to all-cause hospitalizations was determined upon hospital administrative data and population statistics. RESULTS:: RV accounted for 6.2% (95%CI: 5.3 - 7.1) of all-cause pediatric hospitalizations among general hospitals and 3.1% (95%CI: 2.9 - 3.3) at the tertiary care center, adjusted for the proportion RV underreporting among gastroenteritis patients (33%) as observed during active surveillance. Among general hospitals, there was a 30% increase in all-cause hospitalizations during the active season of common childhood infections compared with summer months. RV contributed 31% to seasonal excess in all-cause pediatric hospitalizations, representing 12.9% of hospitalizations between January and May. RV hospitalizations incidence rate in the population was 510/100,000 child-years less than 5 years (95%CI: 420-600). CONCLUSION:: RV is one of the main causes of seasonal peaks in pediatric hospitalizations, and as such contributes significantly to periodic high bed-capacity pressures and associated adverse effects. RV vaccination benefits in this respect should be considered in decision-making processes.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 07/2012; · 3.58 Impact Factor