Hepatitis B: A Mother-to Child Infection
- Each year, 150-200 infants are born to hepatitis B surface antigen positive (HBsAg+) women in San Francisco
- Without proper intervention, up to 90% of these infants will develop lifelong (chronic) HBV infection
- Of those with chronic infection, 25% will die prematurely of liver cancer or liver disease
- Hepatitis B vaccination is safe and effective and will protect the infant from hepatitis B infection and liver cancer caused by hepatitis B
Resources for parents:
What is the Perinatal Hep B Program?
The Hepatitis B Perinatal Program encourages the screening of pregnant women and vaccination of high risk infants and household contacts. The San Francisco Perinatal Hepatitis B Program was created in 1991 to eliminate the perinatal and household transmission of hepatitis B. This confidential project follows cases of HBsAg + women to ensure that:
- Children receive HBIG and their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth
- Subsequent hepatitis B vaccines are administered at age 1 month and age 6 months
- Household contacts are offered the opportunity to learn more about hepatitis B and be vaccinated
- Post-vaccination serology is conducted to ensure seroconversion
OB/Gyn or Family Physician Responsibilities
- Screen all pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen. (Health and Safety Code Section 125050-125119.5)
- Screen all patients at the time of delivery if her hepatitis surface antigen status is unknown. (Health and Safety Code Section 125050-125119.5).
- Report to the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Perinatal Hep B Program all cases of HBsAg positive women who reside in San Francisco and are pregnant, as soon as their status is known. (Required by the California Administrative code, Title 17 section 2500)
- Send a copy of the lab report documenting the woman’s positive HBsAg status to the birth hospital
- Emphasize to the expecting mother the importance of having her newborn receive HBIG and the birth dose of hepatitis B to prevent perinatal hepatitis B transmission
- Verify that positive test results are successfully transferred to the hospital newborn nursery, the pediatrician, and the obstetrical service.
- Inform your patient about her HBsAg + status and encourage HBsAg + expectant mothers to participate in the SDPH Perinatal Hep B Program case management.
For further information contact the Communicable Disease Program at (415) 554-2955.
Useful Links for Providers:
- Delivery Alert Form
- California Department of Public Health-Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program
- Prevention of Perinatal Hepatitis B. Guidelines for Prenatal Care Providers
- Screening Pregnant Women
- Interpretation of Serologic Tests Results
- Preventing Perinatal Hepatitis B. Guidelines for Labor & Delivery
- Admission Orders for Labor and Delivery and Newborn Units to Prevent Hepatitis B Virus Transmission
- Pediatric Provider Quicksheet (PDF)
- Vaccine Schedules:
- HIPAA Privacy Rule and Public Health