Environment-linked disease drop may be linked to Covid-19 precautions, report says
Illnesses linked to environmental conditions more than halved in 2020, health statisticians have found.
A health ministry spokeswoman said the “significant decrease” in reported cases of some conditions may have been a by-product of the massive effort to control the spread of Covid-19.
Figures released as part of the 2021 Environmental Statistics Compendium showed the number of cases of gastroenteritis, acute bronchitis and chronic sinusitis all fell at least 50 per cent in 2020 compared with the previous year.
The spokeswoman said: “We can surmise that this is due to the numerous public health measures and other factors influencing how persons access health/hospital care.”
The compendium said that the total number of reported cases of environmentally related diseases in 2020 was 2,548 compared with 5,071 in 2019 — a 51 per cent drop year on year.
The number of reported bronchitis cases fell from 546 to just 170 and the number of chronic sinusitis cases fell from 29 to 10.
The figures included 130 reported cases of gastroenteritis, compared with 467 in 2019, while the number of reported cases of diarrhoea fell from 169 to 98 in the same period.
There were no reported cases of imported malaria or dengue fever in 2020 and the number of poisonings logged fell from 75 to 59.
None of the listed categories showed an increase between 2019 and 2020.
Covid-19 cases were not included in the figures, but it has been reported that the island recorded 604 Covid-19 cases and ten coronavirus-linked deaths in 2020.