Sentinel Surveillance Network for Rotavirus

The Rotavirus Sentinel Surveillance Network in the European Region is based in selected referral hospitals in participating countries.  In these hospitals, specimens collected from children <5 years of age who are admitted for diarrhoea are tested for rotavirus. By linking the epidemiologic and laboratory information on the cases, the Network provides valuable information on the epidemiology and burden of rotavirus disease as well as the circulating genotypes.

WHO/Europe provides ongoing technical support to and monitoring of the hospitals and laboratories involved, and provides supplies and reagents needed to support surveillance.

Impact and outcomes

Since the Network's establishment in 2006, progress has been made in standardizing and strengthening the different components of surveillance. For example, data management systems have been developed to link regional reference laboratory results with individual case data at the national level and laboratory performance has been strengthened through the implementation of external quality assessment exercises, quality control testing and trainings.

Surveillance results have been used by several countries in considering whether or not to introduce the rotavirus vaccine. Three of the participating countries that have introduced vaccine are now using the surveillance data to monitor the impact of that immunization programme and to assess the effectiveness of the vaccine.