NAfter the first lockdown in the 2020 corona pandemic, the number of cases reported for many other infectious diseases has fallen by a good third, according to an analysis by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Around 140,000 cases were reported between March and the beginning of August 2020 – 35 percent less than would have been expected based on the data from January 2016 to February 2020, said Sonia Boender from the RKI Surveillance Department on request. Seasonal effects and trends have been taken into account.
For the analysis, numbers of notifiable diseases and pathogens such as flu, tuberculosis, chickenpox, syphilis and noroviruses were taken into account. The RKI describes the reasons for the decline as complex and pathogen-specific.
Distance and hand washing have an effect
The corona measures would certainly have had an impact on the transmission of other diseases, explained Boender. Measures such as school and daycare closings, home office, distance rules, contact restrictions and hand hygiene in particular prevented the transmission of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens from person to person. There were also declines in diseases such as malaria, which had previously been diagnosed in return travelers. The only increase was recorded for encephalitis, TBE, which is transmitted by ticks.
The current flu season 2020/21 also started very cautiously according to previous reporting data. 266 cases confirmed in the laboratory have been recorded since the beginning of October, according to the weekly report of the Influenza Working Group. In the previous year, significantly more such infections were transmitted around this time, it said. The flu season came to an early end in spring 2020. This was also attributed to the corona measures.