Hospital-based study of the economic burden associated with rotavirus diarrhea in Hong Kong.
Nelson EAS., Tam JS., Yu L-M., Ng Y-C., Bresee JS., Poon K-H., Ng C-H., Ip K-S., Mast TC., Chan PK-S., Parashar UD., Fok T-F., Glass RI.
BACKGROUND: Rotavirus infection is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in both developed and developing countries. METHODS: To estimate the economic burden associated with rotavirus infection in Hong Kong, we combined data on the disease burden of rotavirus-associated hospital admissions with detailed cost data for a subsample of 471 children with diarrhea admitted to hospitals. RESULTS: The annual total social cost and total direct medical cost for rotavirus-associated admissions were calculated as 4.3 US dollars and 4 million US dollars, respectively, by use of data collected during March 2001 to March 2003. The estimate of the direct medical costs was approximately 4-fold higher than a previous estimate; this difference largely reflects the greater disease burden identified through active disease surveillance conducted under the auspices of the Asian Rotavirus Surveillance Network. On average, families spent 120 US dollars when their child's admission was associated with rotavirus infection; this cost represents approximately 10% of the monthly salary of an unskilled or service worker. CONCLUSIONS: These data emphasize the potential for a safe and effective rotavirus vaccine to reduce the economic burden associated with rotavirus disease.