INTRODUCTION: Rotavirus is one of the major infectious agents of childhood acute gastroenteritis (AGE). Definitive diagnosis depends on laboratory test results. Our study aimed to compare the laboratory results, number of emergency admissions, and length of hospital stay of patients with an initial diagnosis of AGE in the pediatric emergency department according to the presence of rotavirus antigen.
METHODS: 74 patients who tested positive and 91 patients who tested negative for rotavirus antigen in fresh stool specimens admitted to the pediatric emergency service of our hospital between April 1, 2019, and May 1, 2019, were included in our study. Demographic characteristics, laboratory results, and length of hospital stay of both groups of patients were evaluated retrospectively. The ShapiroWilk test was used for statistical analysis, whereas the Student t-test and the MannWhitney U-test were used for the comparison of quantitative variables, and the Pearson Chi-square test was used for the comparison of qualitative data. A value of p<0.05 was considered statistically significant.
RESULTS: Among the patients included in the study, 54.1% of the patients who tested positive for rotavirus antigen were girls and 45.9% were boys, whereas 45.1% of the patients in the control group were girls and 54.9% were boys. The ages of the subjects participating in the study were between 1 and 107 months in the study group and 2163 months in the control group. Patients length of stay was 147 h in the rotavirus antigen-positive group and 134 h in the control group. Evaluation of the number of hospital admissions revealed that recurrent admissions to the emergency department were more common in rotavirus cases, which constituted the study group.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: It was observed that patients diagnosed with AGE who tested positive for the rotavirus antigen in the emergency department were younger, their length of hospital stay was longer, and the number of admissions to the emergency department was higher. Especially in viral gastroenteritis, unnecessary use of antibiotics should be avoided, and breast milk should be supported to prevent dehydration, as well as rotavirus vaccination, which is not yet in the national vaccination calendar, especially in the infant age group.