Objective: To present data on rotavirus notifications in the Northern Territory to provide knowledge about the local epidemiology of rotavirus gastroenteritis that can be used to inform the use and funding of rotavirus vaccines.
Results: Numbers of rotavirus notifications over the period 1995–2004 show annual, monthly and regional variability. The rotavirus notification rate for Indigenous children aged 0–5 years was 2.75 per 100 per year, compared with 0.98 for non-Indigenous children, with a relative risk for Indigenous children of 2.17 (95% CI, 1.97–2.39) over the 10 years. Indigenous children infected with rotavirus were younger than non-Indigenous children, with median ages of 11 months and 16 months, respectively. Rotavirus gastroenteritis occurred in outbreaks, transmitted over months throughout the NT.
Conclusion: Large numbers of cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis affecting Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in the NT are notified every year. The rate in Indigenous children may be decreasing relative to non-Indigenous children. An effective rotavirus vaccine could prevent significant morbidity.
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