Rotavirus (RV) is a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in babies and young children worldwide. There is no particular therapy for RV-induced aging (RVGE), although two safe and effective vaccinations have been available since 2006. RV vaccine was introduced in Latvia’s national immunization program (NIP) in 2015, with full payment, and coverage of 87 percent was reached within the first year. This surveillance research was conducted to evaluate the proportion of RVGE among AGE episodes in Latvia prior to the inclusion of RV immunization in the NIP, in order to establish a foundation for future studies of the RV vaccine’s impact. A prospective, one-year observational study of children under the age of five who presented with AGE in primary care. At the initial point of contact with the primary care provider, a stool sample was obtained and analyzed for RV using a fast, visible immunochromatographic technique. The parents kept track of their child’s symptoms for two weeks following the initial interaction, and the investigator recorded their findings during a follow-up phone conversation. RVGE seasonality was also examined. Data on 606 evaluable children with AGE were gathered by 52 primary care investigators. RVGE accounted for 38.1 percent of the total. Severe AGE was reported by 40.7 percent of RV-positive patients and 19.5 percent of RV-negative individuals. The rate of hospitalization was 9.1 percent for RV-positive patients and 4.8 percent for RV-negative patients, with no difference in the mean length of hospital stays. 

This study demonstrates that RV is a significant cause of AGE in children under the age of five in Latvia and that the burden of RVGE in primary care was high prior to the inclusion of RV immunization in the NIP.