BioScience Trends. 2021;15(4):257-261. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2021.01269)
Infectious disease activity during the COVID-19 epidemic in Japan: Lessons learned from prevention and control measures
Sawakami T, Karako K, Song PP, Sugiura W, Kokudo N
In Japan, the Law Concerning the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases (the "Infectious Diseases Control Law") classifies infectious diseases as category I-V infectious diseases, pandemic influenza, and designated infectious diseases based on their infectivity, severity, and impact on public health. COVID-19 was designated as a designated infectious disease as of February 1, 2020 and then classified under pandemic influenza as of February 13, 2021. According to national reports from sentinel surveillance, some infectious diseases transmitted by droplets, contact, or orally declined during the COVID-19 epidemic in Japan. As of week 22 (June 6, 2021), there were 704 cumulative cases of seasonal influenza, 8,144 cumulative cases of chickenpox, 356 cumulative cases of mycoplasma pneumonia, and 45 cumulative cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis; these numbers were significantly lower than those last year, with 563,487 cumulative cases of seasonal influenza, 31,785 cumulative cases of chickenpox, 3,518 cumulative cases of mycoplasma pneumonia, and 250 cumulative cases of rotavirus gastroenteritis. Similarly, many infectious diseases transmitted by droplets or contact declined in other countries and areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. One can reasonably assume that various measures adopted to control the transmission of COVID-19 have played a role in reducing the spread of other infectious diseases, and especially those transmitted by droplets or contact. Extensive and thorough implementation of personal protective measures and behavioral changes may serve as a valuable reference when identifying ways to reduce the spread of infectious diseases transmitted by droplets or contact in the future.