Feb 16, 2021
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Unexpected effects. What diseases have all but disappeared due to the COVID pandemic?

The measles epidemic has stopped in Europe, and the flu epidemic in Russia. The coronavirus pandemic has caused enormous damage to the health of people around the world and forced people to live in a completely new regime for them: masks, antiseptics, limiting contacts. But it turned out that the fight against COVID-19 has helped to significantly reduce the incidence of many preventable infections.

Measles and rubella

According to the WHO Regional Office for Europe, since June 2020, we can talk about a record low number of cases in the countries of the European Region (including Russia). The bureau published a report with data for November last year.

If from the beginning of the year 12,191 cases of measles and 10 deaths from the disease were registered, then, for example, in November, only 13 people were diagnosed with measles. Four of them are in Belgium, three each in Turkey and Ukraine, one case each in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Ireland. And not a single measles death since the beginning of last year!

A similar story is with rubella – in November 2020, only 4 cases were registered in the European Region.

According to Rospotrebnadzor, not a single case of measles has been detected in Russia since September. Since April, there are no data on new cases of rubella.

“I think many other infections will now decline, especially anthroponous ones,” wrote in his telegram channel pediatrician Sergey Butriy… “I think humanity will emerge from this pandemic with a fundamentally different approach to personal / public hygiene.”


January 15, 2021 Head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova stated that the flu had virtually disappeared in Russia.

“Today there is no flu in the country, but today, let me remind you, it is already the middle of January. There hasn’t been such a year yet, ”Popova said. Later

Expert of the Center for Molecular Diagnostics of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor Mikhail Lebedev, said that such a decline can be attributed to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a high level of vaccinations.

“In my opinion, this is largely due to the quarantine measures that are in force around the world to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. They also prevent the spread of influenza, “Lebedev said in an interview with AiF.

The situation is similar all over the world. According to WHO, at the end of 2020, the incidence of influenza in the world decreased by 98% compared to the same period in 2019.

Back in the summer, virologists expressed fears that during the epidemic season, the waves of influenza and coronavirus could coincide – and in a duet they could claim even more lives than separately. But the hypothesis was not confirmed.

Intestinal infections

In the fall, Rospotrebnadzor reported: the incidence of acute intestinal infections for 8 months of 2020 decreased by almost half compared to the same period in 2019.

The year before last there were 502 thousand cases, last year – 296 thousand. Experts attribute this to a complex of reasons. Firstly, restaurants almost did not work during the pandemic, and secondly, most Russians began to wash their hands more often. The flow of tourists to seaside resorts, where rotavirus outbreaks often occur, has also significantly decreased.

“Children’s” diseases: chickenpox, whooping cough and head lice

The number of cases of infections characteristic of children – head lice, whooping cough and chickenpox – decreased by 43% in 2020, the Nizhny Novgorod department of Rospotrebnadzor said. Similar figures are given in other regions of Russia.

“This is a fairly good indicator, because chickenpox among the child population has always been in second place after influenza and ARVI. And suddenly such a sharp decline “, – said at a press conference representative of the department Natalia Sadykova

Hemorrhagic fever

An unexpected effect from the fight against the pandemic was noted in Udmurtia. There, annually more than a thousand people fell ill with hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS). The disease is carried by rodents, therefore it is also called mice. HFRS is transmitted from person to person in the household.

In 2020, the number of cases has decreased by three times – largely due to the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alarming news: tuberculosis

But with tuberculosis, the situation is the opposite. Although the disease is contagious, social distancing regimes have not helped to reduce the number of those infected. On the other hand, the costs of anti-tuberculosis activities have been cut in half: according to the WHO, in 2020, $ 6.5 billion was allocated for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in the world – this is half the amount planned by the UN declaration.

The reason is simple: the money was needed to fight COVID-19. But WHO considers the information alarming and warns that it could lead to an epidemic of tuberculosis.

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