Number of hepatitis B diseases is falling



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New hepatitis B disease low in Germany reached

The number of hepatitis B diseases has declined sharply in Germany and reached a new low in 2012. This was announced by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Last year, 679 cases with a clear clinical picture were reported, which corresponds to a decrease of 16 percent compared to the previous year. Vaccination of infants, which the RKI has recommended since 1995, may be effective.

Hepatitis B diseases decreased by 16 percent. Hepatitis B is an infectious disease of the liver with hepatitis B viruses. The transmission takes place through body fluids such as blood, breast milk, saliva or semen. Hepatitis B disease usually has no clinical symptoms. If symptoms occur, sufferers suffer from a typical yellowing of the skin, body aches, dark colored urine, nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea. Acute hepatitis B infection usually heals without complications within two to six weeks. According to the RKI, most of those affected are immune for a lifetime. However, up to ten percent of the patients develop a chronic course that leads to acute liver failure in about 0.5 to 1 percent of the cases. Liver cell carcinoma and cirrhosis can also precede or occur.

As reported by the RKI, the number of hepatitis B diseases decreased last year by 16 percent to 679 reported cases. This marks a new low since records began in 2001. At that time, about 2,300 cases of hepatitis B were still reported by doctors and laboratories. The experts at the RKI see the vaccination recommendation of the permanent vaccination committee (STIKO) for vaccination against hepatitis B for infants as the reason for the significant decline in the number of cases.

Men affected by Hepatistis B more often than women It was found that men were affected more than twice as often (1.2 cases per 100,000 population) than women (0.5 cases per 100,000 population). "For men, the frequency peak was in the age group of 30 to 39 year olds (2.0 diseases per 100,000 population), for women it was found in the age group of 30 to 39 year olds (0.9 per 100,000) a second frequency summit in the age group of 20- to 24-year-olds (0.9 per 100,000), "write the experts from the RKI" On the situation with important infectious diseases in Germany - viral hepatitis B and D in 2012 ". From the age group of 25 to 29 years old, there was always a higher incidence among men than among women of the same age. The experts conclude that the virus in Germany is usually transmitted through sexual contact.

There are also differences between the federal states, which vary between 0.5 cases of hepatitis B per 100,000 inhabitants in Lower Saxony, Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein and 2.2 people affected in Saarland. "The observed regional differences can be based on a different spread of risk behaviors in certain regions or on different diagnosis and reporting behavior of the doctors or different procedures in the health offices", the RKI experts suspect. (ag)

Read also about hepatitis:
The origin of the hepatitis C virus is approaching
Hepatitis A wave in Lower Saxony

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