Objective To describe maternal perception of gastroenteritis and interest in acute rotavirus gastroenteritis vaccination.
Methods Telephone opinion survey, conducted in January 2008 on a representative sample of 1,002 mothers of children under 2 years of age.
Results The majority of mothers surveyed considered gastroenteritis to be a serious (43.1%) or very serious (51.3%) pathology for children under 2 years of age. Perceived severity was in terms of symptoms and reputed complications. Gastroenteritis was considered to be often or very often accompanied by diarrhea (97.2% of respondents), vomiting (94.3%) and/or dehydration (94%). Hospital admission was also thought to be frequent. Almost all respondents (98.3%) considered the disease very (75.4%) or fairly (22.8%) contagious, very frequently (91.8%) leading to medical consultation, with oral rehydration solutions (ORS) being prescribed in 62% of cases. Respondents were predominantly (86.3%) in favor of an oral vaccine for the prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis, 88.1% claiming they would give their child such vaccination if it was medically recommended and reimbursed by the national health insurance system.
Conclusion The mothers surveyed were aware of the potential seriousness of gastroenteritis; a large majority (86.3%) were in favor of vaccination to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis.
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