Infectious diseases continue to play an important role for disease perception, health-economic considerations and public health in Germany. In recent years, infectious diseases have been linked to the development of non-communicable diseases. Analyses of the German National Cohort (GNC) may provide deeper insights into this issue and pave the way for new targeted approaches in disease prevention.
The aim was to describe the tools used to assess infectious diseases and to present initial data on infectious disease frequencies, as well as to relate the GNC assessment tools to data collection methods in other studies in Germany.
As part of the baseline examination, questions regarding infectious diseases were administered using both an interview and a self-administered touchscreen questionnaire. Data from the initial 101,787 GNC participants were analysed.
In the interview, 0.2% (HIV/AIDS) to 8.6% (shingles) of respondents reported ever having a medical diagnosis of shingles, postherpetic neuralgia (in cases where shingles was reported), hepatitis B/C, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or sepsis if treated in hospital. In the questionnaire, 12% (cystitis) to 81% (upper respiratory tract infections) of respondents reported having experienced at least one occurrence of upper or lower respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal infections, cystitis or fever within the past 12 months.
The cross-sectional analyses of data and tools presented here – for example on determinants of susceptibility to self-reported infections – can be anticipated from the year 2021 onward. Beyond that, more extensive research into infectious disease epidemiology will follow, particularly once analyses of GNC biological materials have been performed.