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Did COVID-19 mitigation measures in the UK affect the transmission of different infectious ailments?


In a current research revealed in medRxiv * On a preprint server, researchers explored the affect of non-pandemic precautions associated to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) on the transmission of twenty-two infectious ailments within the UK.

Research: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the circulation of other pathogens in the UK.  Image credit: Rost9 / Shutterstock
Analysis: Influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the circulation of different pathogens within the UK. Picture credit score: Rost9 / Shutterstock


Efforts to stop transmission of extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within the early days of the pandemic earlier than a extensively out there COVID-19 vaccine included lockdown government-initiated machines, sporting masks and social distancing measures. Public well being media additionally strongly promotes hand washing.

Research present that along with limiting transmission of SARS-CoV-2, these measures might have an effect on the transmission of different pathogens which might be airborne or fecal-oral.

About analysis

For this research, the researchers used knowledge from three sources – the UK Well being Safety Company (UK), the Royal Normal Practitioner Analysis and Monitoring Middle, and the Workplace of Normal Medication. Nationwide Statistics UK – to investigate transmission patterns of twenty-two pathogens within the UK throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research investigated the transmission of ailments unfold by aerosol droplets, direct contact, blood, vectors, and the fecal-oral route. Airborne ailments embrace chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, influenza, pneumococcal illness, pertussis, strep throat, and scarlet fever.

Herpes simplex virus, immune to methicillin Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), urinary tract infections, and pores and skin and subcutaneous tissue infections are among the many ailments which were studied to be unfold by direct contact. Pores and skin and subcutaneous tissue infections together with cellulitis, folliculitis, abscesses, trauma-related infections, and different necrotic or uncomplicated circumstances of the pores and skin and subcutaneous fats resulting in erythema , irritation and ache.

Ailments transmitted by the fecal-oral route embrace hepatitis E, norovirus, shigellosis, cryptosporidiosis, infectious enteropathy, and food-borne diseases. Infectious intestinal ailments typically seek advice from ailments of the small gut, abdomen, or intestines, resembling gastroenteritis, typhoid, and cholera, which trigger diarrhea, stomach ache, and vomiting. The vector-borne illness examined within the research was Lyme illness, whereas the blood-borne illness was hepatitis C.

The transmission patterns of those pathogens had been examined at the side of the COVID-19 precautions taken between March 2020 and February 2022 within the UK. The primary vaccination and the third course, which befell on the next days (January 4 and 5, 2021), had been additionally included within the research.


The outcomes reported a discount in circumstances of all infectious ailments besides MRSA, Lyme illness and hepatitis E after the preliminary lockdown. The authors imagine that as a result of MRSA predominantly happens in hospitals, the rise in MRSA circumstances throughout elevated hospitalizations throughout COVID-19 is affordable.

Whereas circumstances of Lyme illness didn’t drop markedly throughout the first lockdown, the variety of circumstances did decline over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. 9 out of 10 airborne ailments and 4 out of six fecal-oral ailments have considerably lowered circumstances since COVID-19 precautions had been applied. Tuberculosis is an exception amongst airborne ailments, which the authors imagine could possibly be defined by delayed analysis throughout therapy, or TB co-infection with COVID-19.

Regardless of issues that the interruption of routine immunization would trigger a resurgence of vaccine-preventable infections, ailments resembling mumps, measles, rubella, pneumococcal illness, influenza and whooping cough remained contained even after restrictions had been lifted. Nevertheless, non-vaccine preventable ailments resembling scarlet fever, strep throat and chickenpox (vaccinations usually are not routinely offered within the UK) confirmed a rise after preventive measures. COVID-19 is discontinued.

With lowered human interplay and lockdowns leading to lowered publicity to the atmosphere and customary pathogens, issues have been expressed about illness outbreaks growing attributable to decreased total immunity. Nevertheless, the research stories that solely 4 of the 22 ailments examined confirmed a rise in transmission past pre-COVID-19 ranges. These are chickenpox, pores and skin and subcutaneous infections, herpes simplex and infectious intestinal ailments.


Total, analysis signifies that non-drug COVID-19 mitigation methods resembling lip-locking, social distancing, and hand-washing have considerably lowered the unfold of different infectious pathogens, particularly these Pathogens are transmitted by aerosol droplets and the fecal-oral route.

The absence of publicity to widespread pathogens throughout confinement and different social distancing measures doesn’t cut back total immunity and result in illness outbreaks following discontinuation of those measures, besides apart from chickenpox, herpes simplex and pores and skin and intestinal infections. Nevertheless, whether or not the rise in incidence of those 4 ailments is expounded to COVID-19 measures stays to be investigated.

Vaccine-preventable ailments stay contained even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Nevertheless, ailments resembling chickenpox are nonetheless on the rise, highlighting the necessity to incorporate the chickenpox vaccine into routine immunization applications within the UK.

*Vital notification

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific stories that aren’t peer-reviewed and, due to this fact, shouldn’t be thought-about conclusive, health-related behavioral/medical apply pointers, or thought-about established data. create.


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