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.
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