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

Nash, K., Lai, J., Sandhu, K. , Chandan, J. S., Shantikumar, S., Ogunlayi, F. & Coleman, P. ORCID: 0000-0002-8681-9070 (2022). Impact of national COVID-19 restrictions on incidence of notifiable communicable diseases in England: an interrupted time series analysis. BMC Public Health, 22, 2318. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14796-0


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.

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.

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.

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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Publisher Keywords: COVID-19 restrictions, Non-pharmaceutical interventions, Communicable diseases, Interrupted time series analysis
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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