Setting priorities in the field of infectious diseases requires evidence-based and robust baseline estimates of disease burden. Therefore, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control initiated the Burden of Communicable Diseases in Europe (BCoDE) project. The project uses an incidence- and pathogen-based approach to measure the impact of both acute illness and sequelae of infectious diseases expressed in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). This study presents first estimates of disease burden for four pathogens in Germany. The number of reported incident cases adjusted for underestimation served as model input. For the study period 2005–2007, the average disease burden was estimated at 33 116 DALYs/year for influenza virus, 19 115 DALYs/year for Salmonella spp., 8708 DALYs/year for hepatitis B virus and 740 DALYs/year for measles virus. This methodology highlights the importance of sequelae, particularly for hepatitis B and salmonellosis, because if omitted, the burden would have been underestimated by 98% and 56%, respectively.