February 3, 1993

Hepatitis B in a Prenatal Population

Author Affiliations

University of California San Diego Medical Center

JAMA. 1993;269(5):589. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500050067021

To the Editor.  —We read with interest the article by Silverman et al1 in the November 27, 1991, issue of JAMA. The authors found a high rate of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity (6.7%) among their unregistered prenatal population. Positivity was highly correlated with positive urine drug test results. They recommended initiating hepatitis B virus (HBV) prophylaxis to neonates born of unregistered mothers, especially those with positive drug-test results.At the University of California San Diego Medical Center, with an average of about of 4000 deliveries per year, 25% to 30% of women present with no prenatal care. Included in the battery of tests for these women are HBsAg and urine drug screening. In order to compare our population with that of Silverman et al, we reviewed similar demographic, laboratory, and clinical data from our unregistered patients for one calendar year.In 1990 there were 3981 deliveries of