Epidemiology and Infection

Gastrointestinal infection

Burden of acute gastroenteritis and healthcare-seeking behaviour in France: a population-based study

D. VAN CAUTERENa1 c1, H. De VALKa1, S. VAUXa1, Y. Le STRATa1 and V. VAILLANTa1

a1 Department of Infectious Diseases, Institut de Veille Sanitaire (InVS) (French Institute for Public Health Surveillance), Saint-Maurice, France

SUMMARY

In France surveillance underestimates the true burden of acute gastroenteritis (AG). We conducted a population-based, retrospective cross-sectional telephone survey between May 2009 and April 2010 in order to obtain more accurate estimates of the incidence and the burden of AG and to describe healthcare-seeking behaviour for AG. Of the 10 080 persons included in the survey, 260 respondents reported 263 episodes of AG. The incidence rate of AG was estimated at 0·33 cases/person-year (95% CI 0·28–0·37). It was highest in children aged <5 years and declined with age. Thirty-three percent (95% CI 27–40) of the AG cases consulted a physician and 76% (95% CI 70–82) used medication. Our results indicate that there are more than 21 million episodes of AG each year in France. These results allow a more accurate interpretation of the data derived from existing AG surveillance systems.

(Accepted May 04 2011)

(Online publication June 07 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Mr D. Van Cauteren, Unit Enteric, Foodborne and Zoonotic Infections, Departement of Infectious Diseases, Institut de Veille Sanitaire, 12 rue de Val d'Osne, 94415 St Maurice cedex, France. (Email: d.vancauteren@invs.sante.fr)

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