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The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Associated Public Health Measures on Other Notifiable Infectious Diseases Under National Surveillance in Germany, Week 1-2016 – Week 32-2020
29 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2020More...
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures affect healthcare seeking behaviour, access to healthcare, test strategies, disease notification and workload at public health authorities, but may also lead to a true change in transmission dynamics. We aimed to assess the impact of the pandemic and associated public health measures on other notifiable infectious diseases under surveillance in Germany.
Methods: We included 32 nationally notifiable diseases categories with case numbers >100/year in 2016-2019. We used quasi-Poisson regression analysis on a weekly aggregated time-series incorporating trend and seasonality, to compute the relative change in case numbers during week 2020-10 to 2020-32 (pandemic), in comparison to week 2016-01 to 2020-09.
Findings: During week 2020-10 to 2020-32, 216,825 COVID-19 cases, and 162,942 (-35%) cases of other diseases, were notified. Case numbers decreased across all ages and notification categories (all p<0·005), except for tick-borne encephalitis, which increased (+58%). Cases of respiratory diseases (from -86% for measles, to -12% for tuberculosis), gastro-intestinal diseases (from -83% for rotavirus gastroenteritis, to -7% for yersiniosis) and imported vector-borne diseases (-75% dengue fever, -73% malaria) decreased the most, followed by healthcare associated pathogens (from -43% infection/colonisation with carbapenem-non-susceptible Acinetobacter, to -28% for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus invasive infection) and sexually transmitted and blood-borne diseases (from -28% for hepatitis B, to -12% for syphilis).
Interpretation: During the COVID-19 pandemic a drastic decrease of notifications for most infectious diseases and pathogens was observed. Our findings suggest effects of non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 countermeasures on overall disease transmission that require further investigation.
Declaration of Interests: We declare no competing interests.
Ethics Approval Statement: Pseudonymized notification data was collected at the RKI based on the German Infection Protection Act.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation