Across Europe, the incidence of acute gastroenteritis ranges from 0.5 to 1.9 episodes per person per year, with a higher risk for younger children [2]. In 2006, approximately 10% of the 23 million European children under five presented to healthcare services with gastroenteritis [3], which made up 16% of paediatric ED workload [4], mainly during the winter months. Hospitalisation rates varied, but over 77,000 were admitted for treatment across Europe annually [5].

With the licensing of rotavirus vaccines, this picture has changed. In countries with good vaccine uptake, a 65% to 84% reduction in hospitalisation for rotavirus gastroenteritis has been achieved [6].

Spread of the causative organism is usually via the faecal-oral route. Most transmission occurs in the community, but nosocomial infection also occurs [7].