More Evidence for Hepatitis B Immunoprophylaxis in At-Risk Newborns — Physician’s First Watch
More Evidence for Hepatitis B Immunoprophylaxis in At-Risk Newborns
By Amy Orciari Herman
A new study lends support to guidelines calling for routine hepatitis B virus (HBV) screening in pregnant women and immunoprophylaxis of at-risk newborns. The findings appear in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers examined data from a perinatal HBV immunoprophylaxis program in California. From 1997 to 2010, nearly 4500 infants were born to HBV-positive women. Rates of timely infant immunoprophylaxis and vaccination increased throughout the study period, reaching 87% in 2006-2010.
Just 0.75% of children became infected with HBV (all had received immunoprophylaxis and vaccination within or near recommended intervals). Women who were e-antigen-negative or had low viral loads were at particularly low risk for transmission.
The authors write: "Our study shows that, with high rates of adherence, immunoprophylaxis administered according to current [CDC] guidelines is highly effective for preventing perinatal transmission of HBV."