Rotavirus is a leading cause of acute diarrhea in children worldwide. Costa Rica recently started universal rotavirus vaccinations for infants with a two-dose schedule in February 2019. We aimed to study the seasonality of rotavirus during the pre-vaccination era. We retrospectively studied a six-year period of hospital admissions due to rotavirus gastroenteritis. We estimated seasonal peak timing and relative intensities using trend-adjusted negative binomial regression models with the δ-method. We assessed the relationship between rotavirus cases and weather characteristics and estimated their effects for the current month, one-month prior and two months prior, by using Pearson correlation coefficients. A total of 798 cases were analyzed. Rotavirus cases predominated in the first five months of the year. On average, the peak of admissions occurred between late-February and early-March. During the seasonal peaks, the monthly count tended to increase 2.5–2.75 times above the seasonal nadir. We found the strongest negative association of monthly hospitalizations and joint percentiles of precipitation and minimal temperature at a lag of two months (R = −0.265, p
= 0.027) and we detected correlations of −0.218, −0.223, and −0.226 (p
< 0.05 for all three estimates) between monthly cases and the percentile of precipitation at lags 0, 1, and 2 months. In the warm tropical climate of Costa Rica, the increase in rotavirus hospitalizations coincided with dry and cold weather conditions with a two-month lag. The findings serve as the base for predictive modeling and estimation of the impact of a nation-wide vaccination campaign on pediatric rotaviral infection morbidity.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited