The Burden of Rotavirus Gastroenteritis among Japanese Children during Its Peak Months: an Internet Survey
Rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE) is one of the most common early childhood diseases; however, little information exists on the frequency of RVGE attacks during peak epidemic months and the subsequent clinical consequences in Japanese children. Therefore, we conducted a nationwide internet survey that targeted mothers whose children recently experienced an episode of RVGE or influenza from January 2011 to April 2011. Data concerning the incidence and clinical consequences of RVGE and influenza among 15,137 children aged <3 years were collected. Of these, 1,286 children who experienced an RVGE episode and 1,487 children who experienced an influenza episode visited a physician or required hospital admission. Data analysis of 867 RVGE episodes and 897 influenza episodes found that 25% of children with RVGE required 8-14 days for recovery, 28% received intravenous rehydration, 7% were hospitalized, 15% visited an emergency department, 70% sought medical interventions ≥2 times, and 32% sought medical intervention ≥3 times. Compared with influenza, RVGE required a longer recovery period, and was associated with more frequent episodes of intravenous rehydration, hospitalization, and emergency department and physician visits. Our results indicate that, like influenza, RVGE occurring during peak epidemic months in children aged <3 years imposes a substantial burden on families and medical institutions in Japan.