More than 20 people have been infected with hepatitis A in an outbreak in a German municipality.

There have been 23 infections in the community of Dummerstorf in the Rostock district of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Three more test results are pending. Officials believe the virus has been spread through food.

Of those affected, 21 live in and around the municipality and two in neighboring districts. Four people have needed hospital treatment. More than 100 potential contacts have been identified and contacted by the health department.

Bakery staff link
Investigations by the health department and food control authorities are concentrated on the employees of a bakery branch in the region that officials did not name but have temporarily closed.

Samples of drinking water have been taken and ruled out as a pathway of infection. Vaccinations are being offered.

The Rostock district health department first reported 12 confirmed infections and one suspected case earlier in November. Those sick include children and adults.

Hepatitis A is spread when someone ingests the virus through close contact with an infected person or by eating contaminated food or drink. The incubation period is usually 14 to 28 days, but it can take up to 50 days for symptoms to develop. Symptoms can last up to two months and include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Most people do not have long-lasting illness.

The best way to prevent it is to get vaccinated but compliance with general hygiene rules, such as handwashing, especially after going to the toilet and before handling food, can protect against transmission.

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