Clinical Epidemiologic Profile of Rotavirus Infections in Korea

국내 로타바이러스 감염의 역학

  • Kang, Jin Han (Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea)
  • 강진한 (가톨릭대학교 의과대학 소아과학교실)
  • Published : 2008.06.25


Primary rotavirus gastroenteritis infection usually occurs in infants under 2 years of age worldwide regardless of level of hygiene, quality of water, food or sanitation or type of behavior. In Korea, the disease mostly occurred in infants under 2 year old, and usually in late fall to early winter with the highest incidence shown in November until early 1990s. However, since then, relatively the age incidence of this infection has increased in children over 2 years old, and it has mainly occurred in late winter to early spring with the highest incidence shown between February and March. And rotavirus gastroenteritis serotypes varied year to year as well as varied by year within the same region in our country. The comparison of severity scores between age groups in Korea showed that severity score was lowest in infants less than 3 months and highest in infants more than 6 months and less than 12 months, and hospitalization period between age groups was longest in infants older than 3 months and less than 3 months and highest in infants more than 6 months and less than 12 months and less than 6 months. In this aspect, rotavirus vaccines should be given to infants less than 2 years of age in whom the incidence of rotavirus gastroenteritis is the highest, and vaccination should be ideally started before 3 months considering hospitalization period and severity of rotavirus gastroenteritis. However, It should be careful for the introduction of new rotavirus vaccine, and the effectiveness of rotavirus vaccines should be assessed by long-term post marketing surveillance. And we guess an multivalent vaccine may be an ideal rotavirus vaccine to prevent primary infection caused by variable rotavirus strains in Korea. In addition, clinical epidemiology studies on rotavirus gastroenteritis which evaluate the age and serotypes related severity should be continuously conducted in various regions.