Infants born to mothers positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B "e" antigen (HBeAg) have a 70%-90% chance of acquiring perinatal HBV infection, and 85%-90% of infected infants will become chronic HBV carriers.1,2 More than 25% of these carriers will die from primary hepatocellular carcinoma or cirrhosis of the liver.3 In the United States, an estimated 16,500 births occur to HBsAg-positive women each year (about 4,300 of whom are also HBeAg-positive), and approximately 3,500 of these infants become chronic HBV carriers. Prenatal screening of all pregnant women would identify those who are HBsAg- positive and thus would allow treatment of their newborns with hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and hepatitis B (HB) vaccine, a regimen that is 85%-95% effective in preventing the development of the HBV chronic carrier state.2,4-6
In 1984, the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) recommended that pregnant women in certain groups
Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee Prevention of Perinatal Transmission of Hepatitis B Virus: Prenatal Screening of all Pregnant Women for Hepatitis B Surface Antigen. Am J Dis Child. 1988;142(9):921–923. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150090019014
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