Background: Acute gastroenteritis continues to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality
worldwide. Rotavirus causes more than 130 million episodes of severe diarrhea in children less than five years
throughout the world and is considered as main problem in many countries. Few data are available about
gastroenteritis attributable to rotavirus in Jordan.
Objectives: The primary purpose of this study is to determine epidemiological, clinical and laboratory characteristics
of hospitalized cases attributable to rotavirus gastroenteritis in children less than five years old in selected hospitals
during the period May 2007-April 2008 to provide Ministry of Health with evidence upon which to base its futuristic
decision in regard to development of more suitable preventive measures. This study will improve the existing diarrhea
surveillance system in MoH, facilitate and support the decision of introducing rotavirus vaccine in national
Methods: Descriptive Cross-sectional study was performed on the hospitalized children less than five years old with
acute gastroenteritis in three selected hospitals in three governorates (north, middle and south regions) with
population about 45.3% of Jordan population for the period May 2007 to April 2008. Standard case definition was
adopted. Analysis was performed using SPSS and Epi Info statistical packages.
Results: 377 cases were enrolled with 171 positive for rotavirus. Results showed that Incidence rate of rotavirus
disease is 5.2/ 10000 children less than five years old per year; male: female ratio is 1.8:1 with largest proportion of
cases among children 6-11 months old. Southern region has the highest incidence rate. Vomiting is an outstanding
symptom for rotavirus cases (P< 0.01) in addition to diarrhea and fever which require admission to hospital for fluid
replacement. Majority of rotavirus cases were with some dehydration (30%). Mean stay duration is 3 days.
Predominant genotypes are G1P8.G2P4 and G9P untypeable.
Conclusions: Although mortality of gastroenteritis is no longer a problem in Jordan due to accessibility to health
services, morbidity is still high and rotavirus is a relevant cause for gastroenteritis in children less than five years old;
which require hospitalization most of the time (45.4% of admitted gastroenteritis).