BACKGROUNDRotavirus affects 95% of children worldwide by age 5 years and is the leading cause of severe dehydrating diarrhea. The objective of this review was to estimate the burden of rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE) in the Western European pediatric population.METHODSA comprehensive literature search (1999-2010) was conducted in PubMed and other sources (CDC; WHO, others). Data on the epidemiology and burden of RVGE among children < 5 years-old in Western Europe --including hospital-acquired disease--were extracted.RESULTS76 studies from 16 countries were identified. The mean percentage of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases caused by rotavirus ranged from 25.3%-63.5% in children < 5 years of age, peaking during winter. Incidence rates of RVGE ranged from 1.33-4.96 cases/100 person- years. Hospitalization rates for RVGE ranged from 7% to 81% among infected children, depending on the country. Nosocomial RVGE accounted for 47%-69% of all hospital-acquired AGE and prolonged hospital stays by 4-12 days. Each year, RVGE incurred $0.54- $53.6 million in direct medical costs and $1.7-$22.4 million in indirect costs in the 16 countries studied. Full serotyping data was available for 8 countries. G1P, G2P, G9P, and G3P were the most prevalent serotypes (cumulative frequency: 57.2%- 98.7%). Serotype distribution in nosocomial RVGE was similar.CONCLUSIONSThis review confirms that RVGE is a common disease associated with significant morbidity and costs across Western Europe. A vaccine protecting against multiple serotypes may decrease the epidemiological and cost burden of RVGE in Western Europe.