What is the incidence of diarrhea in the US?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020
  • Author: Stefano Guandalini, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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In the United States, one estimate before the introduction of specific antirotavirus immunization in 2006 assumed a cumulative incidence of 1 hospitalization for diarrhea per 23-27 children by age 5 years, with more than 50,000 hospitalizations. By these estimates, rotavirus was associated with 4-5% of all childhood hospitalizations and a cost of nearly $ 1 billion. [2] Furthermore, acute diarrhea is responsible for 20% of physician referrals in children younger than 2 years and for 10% in children younger than 3 years.

The impact of vaccination on rotavirus morbidity has been remarkable, with significant reduction of diarrhea-associated hospitalizations and visits to emergency departments in children in the years 2007-2008 compared with the prevaccine period. [3]

A study by Olortegui et al that included 2,082 children reported that 35% of the children experienced astrovirus infections and astrovirus prevalence in diarrheal stools was 5.6%, and severity exceeded all enteropathogens except rotavirus. [36]

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