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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


SOLORZANO GIRON, José Orlando et al. Burden of diarrhea among children in Honduras, 2000-2004: estimates of the role of rotavirus. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.6, pp.377-384. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the annual burden of diarrhea and of diarrhea that is associated with rotavirus (RV) in children who are treated at public clinics and hospitals in Honduras. METHODS: Data were collected from computerized records of all children < 5 years old treated for diarrhea at clinics and hospitals operated by the Secretary of Health for the period of 2000 through 2004. A review of studies of RV in Honduras and neighboring countries provided estimates of detection rates of RV among children treated for acute diarrhea as outpatients or as inpatients. From these data, we estimated the annual number of cases of diarrhea and of rotavirus-related diarrhea in Honduras, the cumulative incidence of diarrhea and of rotavirus-related diarrhea for a child from birth to age 5 years, and the number of fatalities due to RV among children hospitalized for diarrhea. RESULTS: From 2000 through 2004, a mean of 222 000 clinic visits, 4 390 hospitalizations, and 162 in-hospital deaths due to diarrhea were recorded annually among children < 5 years of age in the public health facilities in Honduras. From our review of scientific literature on Honduras and neighboring countries, an estimated 30% of outpatients and 43% of inpatients who were treated for diarrhea would be expected to have RV. Consequently, we estimated that 66 600 outpatient visits, 1 888 hospitalizations, and 70 in-hospital deaths among children < 5 years in Honduras could be attributed to RV each year. Therefore, a child in the first five years of life has a respective risk for consultation, hospitalization, and in-hospital death of 1:1, 1:46, and 1:1 235 for diarrhea. For an episode associated with RV, the respective risks are 1:3, 1:106, and 1:2 857. These values likely underestimate the true burden of diarrhea in Honduras, since some 51% of children with acute diarrhea do not receive formal care for the illness, 70% do not receive oral rehydration solution, and 80% of diarrheal deaths occur outside of hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: Diarrhea is a major cause of illness among children < 5 years old in Honduras, and RV is likely the most common cause. Our preliminary estimates need to be refined so that health planners in Honduras can make decisions on the future use of rotavirus vaccines. A program of hospital-based surveillance for rotavirus in Honduras has been established to address this need.

Keywords : Diarrhea; rotavirus infections; health care costs; child [preschool]; infant; infant [newborn]; Honduras.

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