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Did COVID-19 mitigation measures in the UK influence the transmission of different infectious illnesses?


In a latest examine revealed in medRxiv * On a preprint server, researchers explored the influence of non-pandemic precautions associated to coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) on the transmission of twenty-two infectious illnesses 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 broadly out there COVID-19 vaccine included lockdown government-initiated machines, carrying 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 could have an effect on the transmission of different pathogens which can be airborne or fecal-oral.

About analysis

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

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

Herpes simplex virus, proof against methicillin Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), urinary tract infections, and pores and skin and subcutaneous tissue infections are among the many illnesses which have been 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 illnesses usually discuss with illnesses of the small gut, abdomen, or intestines, reminiscent of gastroenteritis, typhoid, and cholera, which trigger diarrhea, stomach ache, and vomiting. The vector-borne illness examined within the examine was Lyme illness, whereas the blood-borne illness was hepatitis C.

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


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

Whereas instances of Lyme illness didn’t drop markedly throughout the first lockdown, the variety of instances did decline over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. 9 out of 10 airborne illnesses and 4 out of six fecal-oral illnesses have considerably diminished instances since COVID-19 precautions had been carried out. Tuberculosis is an exception amongst airborne illnesses, which the authors consider may very well be defined by delayed analysis throughout remedy, or TB co-infection with COVID-19.

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

With diminished human interplay and lockdowns leading to diminished publicity to the atmosphere and customary pathogens, issues have been expressed about illness outbreaks growing because of decreased total immunity. Nonetheless, the examine studies that solely 4 of the 22 illnesses 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 illnesses.


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

The absence of publicity to frequent 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. Nonetheless, whether or not the rise in incidence of those 4 illnesses is expounded to COVID-19 measures stays to be investigated.

Vaccine-preventable illnesses stay contained even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Nonetheless, illnesses reminiscent of chickenpox are nonetheless on the rise, highlighting the necessity to incorporate the chickenpox vaccine into routine immunization packages within the UK.

*Vital notification

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific studies that aren’t peer-reviewed and, subsequently, shouldn’t be thought-about conclusive, health-related behavioral/scientific observe tips, or thought-about established info. create.


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