Aim of Study To evaluate the frequency of rotavirus in acute diarrhoea in children under the age of 5 years.
Material and Methods We included 176 children under the age of 5 years who were admitted or examined for acute diarrhoea in the paediatric unit in Hedi Chaker hospital (Sfax, Tunisia) between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2007. For each patient, a search for rotavirus in stool samples, by an immunoenzymatic test, was carried out.
Results The search for rotavirus was positive for 66 patients (37.5%). The rotavirus gastroenteritis was considered extra-hospital in 78.8% of cases and nosocomial in 21.2% of cases. There was an epidemic peak in January (19 cases). During winter time, the incidence of the nosocomial cases was 17.8%. The affected children were less than 6 months old in 40.9% of cases; between 6 and 12 months in 27.3% of cases; between 12 and 24 months in 27.3% of cases and between 2 and 5 years (4.5%). Common presenting symptoms were vomiting, seen in 59.1% of cases, fever in 62.1% of cases and dehydration in 60.6% of cases. Neurological disorders and respiratory signs were noted in 25 and 21.2% of children, respectively. Intravenous or oral hydration therapy was necessary in 68.2% of cases.