BUGS - The burden of gastroenteritis in Switzerland (BUGS) study

Acute gastroenteritis (AG) is a common disease worldwide. The incidence and burden of disease of AG in the general Swiss population are unknown. Available information is restricted to notifiable pathogens causing AG which are reported to the National Notification System for Infectious Diseases (NNSID). Estimates from other European countries suggest an incidence of 0.3-1.5 episodes of AG per person-year which causes a considerable burden.

The burden of gastroenteritis in Switzerland (BUGS) study aims to assess the incidence, burden of disease, socio-economic impact and aetiology of AG in the general Swiss population. BUGS is a one-year, prospective cohort study. Around 3000 individuals from a random sample of the Swiss population will be recruited for the study. Participants are asked to complete a weekly questionnaire on presence or absence of gastrointestinal symptoms and follow-up questions on risk factors and health care seeking using either an electronic or paper-based questionnaire. Individuals experiencing an episode of AG will be asked to complete an additional questionnaire about perceived severity of the episode, health service utilisation, medication intake and inability to work or to perform usual daily activities.

Furthermore, participants are asked to actively report occurrence of diarrhoea with or without vomiting. This active reporting is used to select episodes for aetiological investigation using stool samples.

Finally, a subsample of participants is asked to provide a stool sample during an asymptomatic period to investigate the prevalence of selected pathogenic bacteria as well as of bacteria resistant to different antibiotics.

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Claudia Schmutz

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