Fewer infectious diseases in 2020

Anti-Covid measures have slowed down other infectious diseases last year - such as measles or smallpox. Tick-borne encephalitis cases rose.



Reduced social contacts and increased hygiene - some of the possible reasons why infectious diseases were on the decline in 2020. The State Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) recorded only four cases of measles - the least in the last ten years. In 2019, there were 590. Another reason for this decrease might be that less foreigners arrived to the country - especially from Ukraine, where there was a large-scale epidemic.


Almost 18,000 people suffered from smallpox in 2020, which is 58.5% less than ten-year average. Number of scarlet fever cases dropped by two thirds compared to three-year average. Doctors also saw a significant reduction in viral meningitis infections - there were only 97 cases, 81 less than average from the last ten years.


Bacterial intestinal infections such as salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis have dropped by thousands of cases in 2020. This may be due to an increased use of disinfectants or reduced consumption of street food. Colder summer also may have helped - when people grill less, the risk of transmitting the disease with insufficiently heat-treated meat is lower. Similar decrease was recorded in viral intestinal infections.


However, some physicians point out that the real decline maybe was not that significant and that some patients may have simply been afraid to see a doctor during a pandemic and treated their illness at home.


On the other hand, the number of tick-borne encephalitis cases was the highest in nine years, a total of 854 people fell ill. Summer temperatures were suitable for ticks - and due to the pandemic, more people spent summer holidays in the Czech Republic. There is a vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis - but the public interest is low. Only 29% of the population had at least one out of three doses usually administered.


There were fewer cases of tick-borne Lyme borreliosis - 3 710, which is the least in the last five years. But due to tick-friendly weather, doctors attribute this decline to imperfect reporting due to people postponing their doctor appointments.