The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) released the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Annual Report (computer translated) earlier this week and it shows an increase in infectious diseases in the country.

Germany Image/Lusign

They say in the report that the increases have been influenced by the increase in incoming asylum seekers, as well as partly due to their increased disease screening.

However, the change in the case definitions of certain notifiable diseases in 2015 which was only step-wise implemented at local public health authorities also influences the number of cases e.g. for hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Rising case numbers of Campylobacter enteritis, hepatitis E and whooping cough were observed in 2016.

For a large number of the vaccine-preventable diseases, e.g. tick-borne encephalitis, hepatitis A, chickenpox, disease mostly occurred in non-vaccinated patients, even though effective vaccination is available.

Other notable outbreaks were: a legionellosis outbreak in Bremen with a total of 24 cases, including 2 deaths; a botulism outbreak affecting 6 and an outbreak of 6 tularemia cases which occurred during grape harvesting and were associated with the consumption of contaminated grape juice.

According to the document, Infectious epidemiological yearbook of notifiable diseases for 2016 (computer translated), also shows increased incidences of adenoviral conjunctivitis, cryptosporidium, dengue fever, enterohemorrhagic E. coli, Haemophilus influenza and leprosy, among others.

Legends of microbiology and infectious diseases: Robert Koch

In February 2016, a patient with Lassa fever who had been infected in Togo, West Africa, was treated and died in Germany. After his death, a Lassa virus infection was confirmed in another person with professional contact with the corpse of the deceased.

The patient was treated at an isolation facility and survived the disease. This was the first documented transmission of Lassa virus in Germany. No further infections occurred in the contact persons of both patients.

For more information, check out the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Annual Report  (240 pages)