Epidemiology and Infection

Review Article

The paediatric burden of rotavirus disease in Europe

The Pediatric ROTavirus European CommitTee (PROTECT). 1


Rotaviruses are a major cause of hospitalizations for acute gastroenteritis in developed countries. This review shows the burden of rotavirus disease in <5-year-old children in Europe. An estimated 72000–77000 hospitalizations for community-acquired rotavirus disease occur annually in the 23 million under-fives living in the European Union (EU-25), with a median cost of €1417 per case. Annual hospitalization incidence rates range from 0·3 to 11·9/1000 children <5 years old (median 3/1000). The median proportion of hospital-acquired rotavirus disease among all cases of hospitalization for rotavirus disease is estimated to be 21%. Countries of the EU-25 require information on the burden of rotavirus disease to support introduction of rotavirus vaccines. Data on cases treated at home, medical visits, and emergency wards as well as rotavirus-associated deaths are limited. To fully evaluate the impact and effectiveness of rotavirus vaccination programmes in Europe, additional epidemiological studies will be critical and desirable.

(Accepted January 18 2006)
(Published Online April 4 2006)

c1 Dipartimento di Pediatria, Via Giustiniani 3, 35128 Padova, Italy. (Email: carlog@pediatria.unipd.it)


1 The members of the PROTECT advisory board are listed in the Appendix.