- BACKGROUND: Intussusception has been associated with 1 rotavirus vaccine. Our objective was to determine intussusception rates in children in southern Israel during a 15-year period before the introduction of new rotavirus vaccines. METHODS: All children born at the Soroka Medical Center are hospitalized in that center, enabling population-based studies. Two populations reside in Southern Israel: the Jewish population (comparable to a Western population) and the Bedouin population (comparable to a developing population). Retrospectively, all children <5 years of age admitted with ICD-9 code for intussusception were recorded as well as their demographic and clinical data. RESULTS: During 1990-2004, 316 patients with intussusception [241 (76%) Jewish children and 75 (24%) Bedouin children] were recorded. None died. The mean annual rates for children <5 years (per 100,000) were 49.3 +/- 17.4 and 18.9 +/- 9.6 for Jewish and Bedouin children, respectively (P < 0.001), with a significant increase in intussusception rates during the study period in Bedouin (P = 0.022), but not in Jewish children (P = 0.38). Mean annual intussusception rates per 100,000 for children <12 months were 199.6 +/- 5.2 and 66.8 +/- 44.1 for Jews and Bedouin infants, respectively (P < 0.001). In Bedouin children, a significantly higher number of cases were observed from March to May, whereas no seasonality pattern was noted in Jewish children. Negative correlation between intussusception and gastroenteritis was found in Bedouin infants during the summer months, whereas no such correlation was found in Jewish infants. CONCLUSIONS: Pre-rotavirus vaccination intussusception rate is high especially among Jewish infants in Southern Israel. Intussusception rates increased significantly during the study period in Bedouin infants.