Prospective population-based study on rotavirus disease in Germany

B Ehlken, B Laubereau, W Karmaus, G Petersen, A Rohwedder, J Forster (Corresponding Author), RoMoD Study group

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67 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to collect representative data on the incidence and clinical characteristics of community-acquired acute gastroenteritis (AGE) due to rotavirus (RV) in German children up to 4 y of age. In 20 paediatric practices in 5 German regions every child aged 0-4 y presenting with symptoms of AGE from May 1997 to April 1998 was eligible for inclusion into the study. Stool samples were tested for RV antigen by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and polymerase chain reaction was performed for serotyping. The course of the disease, additional diagnoses and treatment regimen were recorded. Incidences adjusted for month and region of observation were calculated by Poisson regression. Of 15 451 children under observation 3980 (26%) presented with AGE. Of 3156 stool samples available 748 (24%) proved RV positive. The incidence of AGE and RV-positive AGE was 25.2 and 4.0 per 100 children per year, respectively, with a maximum in February/March 1998. RV-positive cases were more severe than RV-negative cases (28% vs 12% severe cases, hospitalization rate 6.2% vs 2.0%, p < 0.001). The predominant genotype of RV isolated was G1/P[8] (77%), followed by G4/P[8] (17%).

Conclusion: Rotavirus accounts for a substantial part of severe cases of AGE in children up to 4 y of age. Efficient prevention, including immunization against the circulating serotypes, could save at least 122000 children in Germany from falling ill with RV-AGE each year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-775
Number of pages7
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


  • children
  • disease severity
  • epidemiology
  • gastroenteritis
  • rotavirus
  • polymerase chain-reaction
  • child-care centers
  • Finnish children
  • diarrhea
  • hospitalization
  • infection
  • severity
  • outbreak
  • infants


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