Acute gastroenteritis is a common health problem worldwide leading to a considerable health system use, health care costs and socio-economic impact. In Switzerland, the frequency of medical consultations due to acute gastroenteritis at the primary care level is unknown. Therefore, this project aims to assess the frequency of medical consultations, course of the disease, days of work lost and physicians’ diagnostic and treatment approaches (especially antibiotic use and stool testing) at the primary care level using the Swiss Sentinel Surveillance Network “Sentinella”.
Around 170 primary care physicians (general practitioners, internists and paediatricians) participate voluntarily in the “Sentinella” network covering entire Switzerland. They reported the number of patients consulting due to acute gastroenteritis including basic patient characteristics during the Sentinella-year 2014. For a subsample of these patients additional information like the number of consultations, signs and symptoms of the disease, general condition, stool diagnostic measures taken (incl. reasons), prescribed symptomatic and antibiotic treatment (incl. reasons), days of work lost and risk exposures were reported.
The study will provide national estimates on the number of consultations due to acute gastroenteritis at the primary care level and put them in relation to the total number of medical consultations at this level. The proportion of patients undergoing stool testing, antibiotic treatment or being unable to work will be assessed. In summary, this study will provide important information on the burden of acute gastroenteritis at the primary care level and on the genesis of the notification data.