a total of 2,605 faecal specimens from children up to 10 years old with or without diarrhoea were collected. samples were obtained from 1986 to 2000 in hospitals, outpatient clinics and day-care centers in goiania, goiás. two methodologies for viral detection were utilized: a combined enzyme immunoassay for rotavirus and adenovirus and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. results showed 374 (14.4%) faecal specimens positive for rotavirus a, most of them collected from hospitalized children. a significant detection rate of rotavirus during the period from april to august, dry season in goiania, and different frequencies of viral detection throughout the years of study were also observed. rotavirus was significantly related to hospitalization and to diarrhoeal illness in children up to 24 months old. this study reinforces the importance of rotavirus as a cause of diarrhoea in children and may be important in regards to the implementation of rotavirus vaccination strategies in our country.