BMC Public Health (Dec 2022)

Impact of national COVID-19 restrictions on incidence of notifiable communicable diseases in England: an interrupted time series analysis

  • Katrina Nash,
  • Jo Lai,
  • Karanbir Sandhu,
  • Joht Singh Chandan,
  • Saran Shantikumar,
  • Fatai Ogunlayi,
  • Paul C. Coleman

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 1
pp. 1 – 6


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Abstract Background Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), such as travel restrictions, social distancing and isolation policies, aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 may have reduced transmission of other endemic communicable diseases, such as measles, mumps and meningitis in England. Methods An interrupted time series analysis was conducted to examine whether NPIs was associated with trends in endemic communicable diseases, using weekly reported cases of seven notifiable communicable diseases (food poisoning, measles, meningitis, mumps, scarlet fever and pertussis) between 02/01/2017 to 02/01/2021 for England. Results Following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, there was an 81.1% (95% CI; 77.2–84.4) adjusted percentage reduction in the total number of notifiable diseases recorded per week in England. The greatest decrease was observed for measles, with a 90.5% percentage reduction (95% CI; 86.8–93.1) from 42 to 5 cases per week. The smallest decrease was observed for food poisoning, with a 56.4% (95%CI; 42.5–54.2) decrease from 191 to 83 cases per week. Conclusions A total reduction in the incidence of endemic notifiable diseases was observed in England following the implementation of public health measures aimed at reducing transmission of SARS-COV-2 on March 23, 2020. The greatest reductions were observed in diseases most frequently observed during childhood that are transmitted via close human-to-human contact, such as measles and pertussis. A less substantive reduction was observed in reported cases of food poisoning, likely due to dining services (i.e., home deliveries and takeaways) remaining open and providing a potential route of transmission. This study provides further evidence of the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical public health interventions in reducing the transmission of both respiratory and food-borne communicable diseases.