Epidemiology and burden of Rotavirus-associated hospitalizations in Ferrara, Italy


Objective of this study was to provide data on hospitalizations for rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE) in Ferrara, Italy. The study was conducted analyzing the hospital discharge forms of all children admitted to the Pediatric Department of the University of Ferrara, Arcispedale Sant'Anna, from January 2001 through December 2005. The database was searched for all gastrointestinal diseases and in particular RVGE. During the period under study 3277 children, of which 2038 inf.60 months of age, were hospitalized; 247 children inf.5 years old were admitted for acute gastroenteritis and 89 (4.4% of all and 36% of gastroenteritis-related hospitalizations) had rapid screening tests positive for rotavirus. A seasonal pattern was observed for RVGE with an increase in winter and early spring. The average length of hospital stay was 5.7 days. The median cost of each hospitalized case of RVGE ranged between 1417 and 1595 Euros. The present research confirms that rotavirus gastroenteritis represents an important cause of hospitalization in children and is responsible for significant costs for the Public Health Care System. An effective vaccination program could significantly reduce the incidence of hospitalization and the associated costs.