In this study, investigators from the United States examined trends in hospitalizations for pediatric diarrhea. They also assessed the disease burden and risk factors for hospitalizations associated with rotavirus, and the accuracy of coding for rotavirus hospitalizations in New York State.
The team evaluated data for all diarrhea-associated hospitalizations in New York State in children aged 1 month to 4 years, between 1989 and 2000.
They then compared the characteristics of patients hospitalized with rotavirus with those for hospitalized with diarrhea from other causes.
The investigators also reviewed patients' medical charts to determine whether diagnoses of rotavirus were supported by laboratory results.
The team found that diarrhea was reported as a discharge diagnosis in approximately 13% of all hospitalizations.
|Rotavirus infection accounted for 9% of all diarrhea-associated hospitalizations.|
They also determined that viruses were the most common etiologic agents reported.
Furthermore, since 1993, when a rotavirus-specific code was introduced, rotavirus infection accounted for 9% of all diarrhea-associated hospitalizations.
The investigators found that 136 patients with diarrhea died during their hospitalization, and that the 12 deaths in patients with rotavirus had a distinct winter pattern.
The team established that children aged less than 4 months were more likely than older children to be nosocomially infected with rotavirus. These children also had a higher proportion of congenital malformations.
Dr Chang's team concluded, "In New York State diarrhea is a common hospital discharge diagnosis and contributes approximately 13% of all hospitalizations among children less than 5 years of age".
"When hospitals with maximum recording were used as a reference point, greater than 30% of diarrhea hospitalizations were recorded as likely the result of rotavirus".