Enigmatic increase in hepatitis A infections in Lower Saxony
Cases of hepatitis A have also increased in the Verden district in recent days. After the health authorities in the neighboring district of Heidekreis had already noticed a significant increase in hepatitis A diseases, hepatitis A infections were now also frequently registered in the district of Verden in the Kirchlinteln region. According to the Verden district administration, there is obviously a connection between the similar diseases in the two Lower Saxony districts.
According to the official press release, seven hepatitis A cases have been reported to the Verden County Health Office. How the affected people contracted the viral inflammation of the liver is still unclear. In order to prevent the pathogens from spreading further, the Verden Health Department has in the meantime contacted the affected people and initiated preventive measures. Nevertheless, due to "the nature of the disease and in view of the possibility of infection that has occurred a long time ago, it can be expected that further diseases will occur", the district administration announced.
26 cases of hepatitis A in two neighboring districts in Lower Saxony In the district of Heidekreis, the increased hepatitis A infections have affected the villages of Südkampen, Nordkampen, Klein Eilsdorf and Vethem in Walsrode. According to the district administration, 19 cases had occurred within a few days by Monday. The health department and the department of veterinary and consumer protection are on site to avoid spreading the pathogens as far as possible and to determine the source of the virus infection. However, not least because of the long incubation period of hepatitis A, there are clear doubts as to whether the cause of the diseases can be identified. In the district of Verden, the health and veterinary services of the district in cooperation with the health authorities of the neighboring Heidekreis and the Lower Saxony State Health Office have also taken precautionary measures for people who have had contact with the sick. Here too, the search for the source of infection is in full swing. Intensive investigations have been initiated, the district administration announced. As a precautionary measure, contact was also made with the local doctor's offices, the Aller-Weser Clinic and the emergency services for the statutory health insurance.
Symptoms of hepatitis A As viral inflammation of the liver, hepatitis A initially manifests itself mostly through relatively unspecific flu-like symptoms, such as abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Noticeably light bowel movements or liver pain are possible symptoms of hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is less commonly associated with jaundice, which is typical of severe liver disease. High liver values are the most important clue when diagnosing hepatitis. Usually, hepatitis A heals completely after four to eight weeks and leaves no damage to the liver. Hepatitis A is transmitted through the so-called contact or smear infection, in which pathogens excreted in urine or stool are passed on to others through poor hygiene (fecal-oral transmission). Infection from contaminated drinking water is also possible. Vegetables fertilized with faeces are also a potential source of infection, particularly in developing countries. In this country, however, hepatitis A is passed on “primarily via bowel movements and a subsequent so-called smear infection”, so that careful washing of hands with soap could effectively prevent transmission, reports the Verden health authority. Proper hygiene is particularly important when preparing food. (fp)
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