Rotavirus is the most common aetiological agent of diarrhoea in children. Few data are available about paediatric nosocomial rotavirus infections (NRI).
Prospective multicentre study carried out on an entire population of children admitted in two wards of two different Italian paediatric hospitals from January to May 2007. All children aged <30 months without symptoms of gastroenteritis upon admission were included. A rapid test for rotavirus on stools was collected upon admission; a second sample was tested at discharge. Other rotavirus tests were collected if gastroenteritis symptoms appeared during admission. A follow-up phone call investigated the onset of gastroenteritis symptoms after discharge. Samples positive for rotavirus were genotyped.
238 patients were included; 60.9% were males, mean age 10.3 months (SD 8), mean time of hospitalisation 6.3 days (SD 6). The overall incidence of NRI was 7.1% (95% CI 4.5 to 11.1), 15.1% (95 CI 11.1 to 20.2) with cases of putative infections found throughout the follow-up. Children who got NRI were younger than non-infected children (6.7 vs 10.6 months, p = 0.05).
Three different genotypes were found; one spread from one infected child to 14 children (82%) from February to May. Two genotypes were isolated from the remaining three patients hospitalised in different periods of time and spreading was excluded. Rotavirus gastroenteritis seems to be caused by the introduction of strains into the hospital setting. Attention to infection control practices is needed to prevent the spread of healthcare-acquired gastroenteritis. The study will continue in 2008 in five hospitals.
This study was granted by Sanofi Pasteur.