Background Rotavirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in children worldwide. A quality of life (QOL) study was conducted as a part of a larger study “Clinical peculiarities of rotaviral infection, molecular epidemiology and health associated QOL for hospitalised children and their family members”, financially supported by Riga Stradins University.
Aim To investigate the impact of rotaviral gastroenteritis (RVGE) on the QOL of affected children and their parents.
Methods Data associated with the burden of RVGE were extracted from questionnaires completed by parents of children (1–133 month of age) hospitalised in University Children’s Hospital within the time period of June 2013 – February 2014. Parents of 165 children evaluated their feelings during child’s illness and estimated child’s physical symptoms and emotions.
Results Mean age of children were 27.96 (SD 22.85) month. Most of parents felt compassion (92%), worries (76%), stress (61%) and fatigue (48%) quite a lot or very much. Such child’s symptoms as diarrhoea (77%), excess fluid intake (69%), apathy or lethargy (64%), vomiting and reduced appetite (55%), fever (50%) parents evaluated as quite a lot or very much experienced as well. In half of the cases a parent or other family member was absent from work because of the child’s RVGE.
Conclusions RVGE has adverse impact on child’s and family QOL, causing not only serious child’s illness, but parental distress, worries, fatigue and inability to work as well. The burden of RVGE on children and their families could be substantially reduced by routine rotavirus vaccination of infants.