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Inflammation of the liver: more and more cases of hepatitis E.
Minced meat, bread rolls or raw sausages are certainly not for everyone. But for many Germans, raw meat is always on the menu. This has consequences: The consumption of raw or undercooked pork is the most common cause of hepatitis E infections. The number of such diseases has doubled in Saxony-Anhalt.
Most common cause of hepatitis E infections
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), eating raw or undercooked pork and liver is the leading cause of hepatitis E infection in the EU. As the agency reported last year, over 21,000 cases of human hepatitis E had been reported in the previous ten years, with a ten-fold increase in the period. Rising hepatitis E numbers were also registered in Germany. The number of registered infections in Saxony-Anhalt has more than doubled within a year.
The number of registered liver infections has increased significantly
According to a report by the dpa news agency, the number of liver infections diagnosed by hepatitis E viruses has increased significantly in Saxony-Anhalt.
According to the State Office for Consumer Protection on World Hepatitis Day, 193 cases were reported last year. That was 100 more than in 2016.
The number of registered infections has more than doubled within a year. According to the information, the development can at least partially be attributed to the fact that doctors pay more attention to this form of hepatitis infection and can recognize it better.
Viruses are usually transmitted via pork
In this country too, hepatitis E is mainly transmitted via undercooked, infected pork and game.
It is only imported as a motion sickness in individual cases. According to the registration statistics, older people are particularly affected.
As reported by the German Press Agency, the State Office for Consumer Protection is currently carrying out a study that is intended to record further risk factors for hepatitis E infections. The authority expects the first results to be available in early 2019.
Patients often do not notice their illness
The problem with the disease, like hepatitis A, is that patients often do not know about their liver inflammation.
"Most people who contract hepatitis E have no or only mild symptoms," EFSA said in a statement.
Sometimes, flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea and vomiting or dark urine appear only after weeks.
Later jaundice and upper abdominal pain often occur, although the former does not occur in all patients.
In most cases, the disease heals after several days or weeks.
"However, in some cases, particularly in patients with liver damage or a weak immune system, liver failure - with a potentially fatal outcome - can occur," the EFSA statement said.
Hepatitis B, C and D can also cause severe liver damage, which can also lead to death. (ad)