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Hepatitis A outbreak in Berlin - no end in sight yet


Furthermore, increased hepatitis A infections in Berlin

Hundreds of people have been infected in Berlin since the hepatitis A outbreak began in 2016. The Berlin State Office for Health and Social Affairs (LAGeSo) has tried to raise awareness of the risk of infection with special information campaigns, but an unusually large number of people in the capital are still suffering from hepatitis A.

"It is not over yet," summed up LAGeSo President Franz Allert to the "dpa" news agency. The hepatitis A outbreak started in 2016 and continued in 2017. A total of 213 cases were reported last year, with the annual average in previous years being 52 cases, reports the LAGeSo. According to Allert, 50 cases have already been exceeded this year.

Vaccination campaign against hepatitis A started

In view of the alarming increase in hepatitis A infections, the LAGeSo started a special vaccination campaign with 15,000 postcards and 250 posters, "which were distributed in Berlin clubs, darkrooms, gay saunas and in caf├ęs and pharmacies in relevant neighborhoods". They also tried to reach the risk group with an on-site information stand and information on relevant online offers (dating portals and apps).

Severe inflammation of the liver threatens

Infection with hepatitis A viruses leads to acute inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), although these are not chronic and usually heal spontaneously without complications. However, in around ten percent of cases, "protracted forms of the course can occur, which may last for several months, but also heal without complications," reports the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). A maximum of 0.1 percent of those affected are at risk of fatal outcome, with the frequency increasing with age and, in particular, previous injuries (e.g. patients with chronic hepatitis B or C) being at greater risk.

Transmission and symptoms

The pathogens are not only transmitted through smear infection, but also sometimes through contaminated drinking water and contaminated food. According to the authorities, men who have unprotected sex with men are particularly often infected. The incubation period is given by the RKI as 15 to 50 days, generally around 25 to 30 days before the first symptoms appear. Typical symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, nausea and vomiting as well as fatigue and sometimes a so-called jaundice (jaundice). According to the RKI, there is currently no specific therapy for hepatitis A. However, those affected are advised to go to bed and treatment of the general symptoms may take place. (fp)

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