Background: Diarrhea is a leading cause of child mortality worldwide. Rotavirus is one of the most common causes of severe diarrhea and dehydration in children.
Objectives: To compare the demographic, clinical and laboratory characteristics of patients with rotavirus gastroenteritis to those with other causes of gastroenteritis.
Methods: The medical records of children aged 0–18 years hospitalized with acute gastroenteritis in our facility between 1 January 2004 and 31 March 2006 were retrieved. Patients with rotavirus gastroenteritis were compared with patients who were rotavirus negative.
Results: The study group comprised 533 patients; 202 tested positive for rotavirus and 331 tested negative. Compared to patients with rotavirus-negative gastroenteritis, patients with rotavirus-positive gastroenteritis had a higher incidence of vomiting (185/202 vs. 212/331, 92% vs. 64%, P < 0.001), lethargy (67 vs. 51, 33% vs. 15%, P < 0.001), and dehydration (81 vs. 78 vs. 40% vs. 24%, P < 0.001). The need for intravenous rehydration therapy and the duration of hospitalization were higher in patients with rotavirus gastroenteritis.
Conclusions: Vomiting and dehydration are more common in hospitalized children with rotavirus gastroenteritis than in children with gastroenteritis due to other causes.