Preventing perinatal hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission is an integral part of the national strategy to eliminate hepatitis B in the United States. National guidelines call for the following:
- Universal screening of pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) during each pregnancy
- Case management of HBsAg-positive mothers and their infants
- Provision of immunoprophylaxis for infants born to infected mothers, including Hepatitis B vaccine and Hepatitis B immune globulin
- Routine vaccination of all infants with the Hepatitis B vaccine series, with the first dose administered at birth
DHEC's Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program
The DHEC Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program is a component of the DHEC Immunization Program. Nurses in each DHEC Region provide Case Management to infected mothers and their infants. The primary goal of the program is to prevent transmission of the hepatitis B virus by identifying all pregnant women infected with hepatitis B and by ensuring infants born to infected women receive the recommended prophylactic treatment.
Prevention of perinatal hepatitis B transmission requires the coordinated transfer of information between laboratories, prenatal care providers, hospitals, primary care providers, and state/local health departments. CDC components of case management programs to prevent hepatitis B virus infection include the following:
- Test all pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) during each pregnancy
- Report HBsAg-positive results
- Provide prenatal HBsAg testing records to delivery hospitals
- Identify and manage infants born to HBsAg-positive mothers
- Administer hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and single antigen hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth
- Complete the hepatitis B vaccine series
- Complete postvaccination testing
- Monitor and evaluate the Case Management program annually.