Group A rotavirus cause infectious, severe and dehydrating diarrhea which have great impact on childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. This study was designed to investigate the disease burden and risk factors of rotavirus infection among children 1 – 5 years in Zaria, Nigeria. Stool samples were collected from 666 diarrheic children and 170 matched non-diarrheic controls and screened for rotavirus antigen by ELISA. Their socio-demographic information and clinical presentations were also noted. There was a 15.6 and 7.6% prevalence of rotavirus infections among the diarrheic and non-diarrheic children, respectively, with the peak of infection occurring between 1 - 6 months of age. The most common clinical features included dehydration (59.1%), fever and vomiting (41.3%), vomiting (34.6%) and fever (19.2%). Age, feeding regimen, and the presence of another person in the house with diarrhea were found to be risk factors for rotavirus diarrhea while gender and socioeconomic status were not. In view of the peak of infection in infants in the study area, rotavirus vaccine will be best administered in early infancy.
Key words: Rotavirus, prevalence, risk factors, pediatric, diarrhea.
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