Background: The assessment of the incidence of acute gastrintestinal infections (AGI) derived from the notifications underestimates the real burden of AGI. The symptoms of AGI are usually not severe enough for consultation with a physician. The more exact data on the burden of AGI are gained through cross sectional population-based studies. To estimate the burden of AGI in Slovenia, a period prevalence study was conducted.
Methods: A simple random sample consisting of 5000 Slovenian inhabitants was chosen to whom a questionnaire was sent in July 2011. The participants were asked if they experienced AGI in June 2011 according to a symptombased case definition. The participants were asked to fill in the questionnaire on a paper or via a web page created for study purposes.
Results: Out of 5000 participants, 1500 filled out the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 33%. The number of women responding out-numbered men - there were 58% female and 42% male responders. 66 (4.4%) of the responders claimed to have had AGI in June 2011. The incidence rate of acute AGI was therefore 4400 per 100,000 inhabitants. Comparatively, the incidence rate of notified cases in the same month was 78.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. The difference between the incidence of AGI, based on notified cases and incidence, calculated in the first Slovenian cross sectional study, showed that one out of 56 cases of AGI in the community has been notified.
Conclusion: the incidence of AGI among the Slovenian population, based on data from our cross sectional study, is as expected higher than the incidence calculated from notification data from the same period.
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