A population-based longitudinal study on the incidence and disease burden of gastroenteritis and Campylobacter and Salmonella infection in four regions of the Netherlands

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The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence of gastroenteritis and Campylobacter and Salmonella infection in the Dutch population, the disease burden, and the percentage of patients with gastroenteritis that consults a general practitioner. A sample of 6243 persons was invited to participate in the study, i.e. completing a questionnaire and submitting stool samples. The follow-up period was 17 weeks. In total, 2206 persons participated (= 35%), contributing 660 person years. The incidence (standardised by age and gender) of first episodes of gastroenteritis was 45 per 100 person years. Among patients with gastroenteritis, Salmonella and Campylobacter were cultured in 1.6 and 4.5%, respectively. The standardised incidence of first Campylobacter infections was 9 per 100 person years, of first Salmonella infections 4 per 100 person years. For 22% of the episodes of gastroenteritis, a general practitioner was consulted (either by phone or by practice visit). For 52% of the episodes, medicine were used. For 34% of the episodes, absence from school was reported and for 15%, absence from work was reported. Despite of possible biases, we can conclude that the incidence of gastroenteritis is very high and causes considerable use of medication, consultation of general practitioners and absence from work and school.

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