Care when grilling: Dangerous infection with hepatitis E threatens
Although it has become somewhat cooler in some regions of Germany, it is still warm enough to grill almost everywhere. However, experts warn barbecuing friends to be careful: Otherwise, eating certain foods could endanger health, in the worst case even a dangerous infection with hepatitis E.
Exercise care when grilling
Most Germans love crickets. But be careful: when sausages, meat and the like are put back on the rack in warm weather, a few things should be observed to minimize health risks. To ensure that grilling remains healthy, care should be taken, among other things, that the food to be grilled does not burn because this can cause carcinogenic substances. It is also very important to heat pork products sufficiently, otherwise an unpleasant and, in the worst case, dangerous infection with hepatitis E could result.
More and more hepatitis E diseases
As reported by the University Hospital Essen in a recent communication, the number of hepatitis E diseases has increased significantly in Germany in recent years.
At the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin, almost 3,000 cases were reported in 2017, about four times more than in 2013.
Experts in Germany estimate the total number of new infections to be around 400,000 cases per year based on antibody tests.
In other European countries, hepatitis E numbers have also increased in recent years.
"Although hepatitis E is not as widespread as other food-borne diseases, it is a growing problem in the EU," said Rosina Girones of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in a press release.
The infection can become very dangerous for certain people
Most hepatitis E infections heal in those affected with no or hardly noticeable symptoms.
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.
However, infection can also be very dangerous for people with a weakened immune system or with chronic liver disease.
Like the liver expert Prof. Dr. Heiner Wedemeyer from the University Medical Center Essen warns that these people are at risk of chronic courses with acute complaints or dangerous liver cirrhosis.
Minimize the risk of infection
Since improperly heated pork is the most common cause of hepatitis E infections, the meat should be roasted on the grill at at least 70 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Furthermore, consumers who want to minimize the risk of infection "should avoid eating raw meat products such as Mett and short-aged raw sausages (e.g. fresh Mettwurst)", writes the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) on its website.
"This recommendation applies in particular to particularly sensitive groups of people (e.g. immunocompromised people, people with previous liver damage and pregnant women)", said the experts. (ad)