Assessment of the Incidence of Rotavirus Infection among Under-Five Children Attending Health Centres in Selected Communities of Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia

Rotavirus infection is a highly infectious public health concern among children under the age of five, characterized primarily by diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever spread via the oral-faecal route from contaminated water, food, and objects. Rotavirus infection is a public health concern because it is highly contagious but preventable. Diarrhoea is the third leading cause of death in Zambia among children under the age of five, accounting for approximately 9% of all deaths. According to data obtained from the Ndola District Health Management Office, despite high rotavirus vaccine coverage, diarrhoea incidence increased by 32.9/1000 between 2011 and 2015. When rotavirus enters the body, Through ingestion, it infects the stomach and intestinal tract (gastroenteritis), causing damage to the cells of the small intestine and making it difficult for the body to absorb water and nutrients. Currently, stool is not routinely tested for rotavirus infection, making it difficult to determine the incidence and effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine (RotarixTM), a diarrhoea disease intervention that was implemented on November 27th, 2013. The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of rotavirus infection among children under the age of five who visit health centers in Ndola’s selected communities. Purposive sampling was used to select 380 under-fives between the ages of 3 and 36 months who presented to health facilities with diarrhoea, vomiting, and fever. The Combi-Strip Rapid Diagnostic Test was used to test a stool specimen for rotavirus infection. The study was conducted from March 1st to September 28th, 2017 to determine relationships and associations among suspected variables using a cross-sectional analytic community-based study design. For data analysis, the Statistical Package for Social Science software was used. Pearson’s Chisquare and logistic regression were among the tests used. The findings revealed an 11 percent incidence rate of rotavirus infection and a statistically significant association between severity categories of rotavirus infection and rotavirus vaccine uptake (p 0.001). Children who received two recommended doses of the vaccine (185 (59.5 percent) were more likely to have rotavirus infection in the mild category ( 7 scores). In conclusion, the results show that the rotavirus vaccine reduces the incidence, and if a child does get diarrhoea, it is less severe, which leads to better outcomes.

Author (S) Details

Julia Shachakanza
School of Medicine, Copperbelt University, Michael Chilufya Sata Campus, Ndola, Zambia.

Joseph Mumba Zulu
Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Health Promotion and Education Unit, University of Zambia, Ridgeway Campus, Lusaka, Zambia.

Margaret Maimbolwa
Department of Nursing Science, School of Medicine, Ridgeway Campus, Lusaka, Zambia.

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