The perinatal transmission of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) poses a serious threat to infants born to mothers infected with the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Each year an estimated 22,000 infants are born to women in the United States that are positive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that close to 500 women are positive at the time of delivery in Pennsylvania.
Perinatal HepB Protocol:
Identify high-risk infants by routinely screening all pregnant women for HBsAg;
- Administer hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns within 24 hours from birth and Hepatitis B Immune Globulin (HBIG) to high-risk infants at the appropriate dose within 12 hours of delivery along with dose number one of the hepatitis B vaccine;
- Promote completion of the three dose hepatitis B vaccine series and the post-vaccination tests; and
- Ensure that all susceptible contacts of HBV-infected pregnant women are identified and offered vaccination.
How the Program Works:
- Hospitals and prenatal clinics must routinely screen all pregnant women for HBsAg, administer immunoprophylaxis to high-risk infants, educate and counsel patients on high risk behaviors and communicate test results and immunization data to the patient and to the department.
- District offices, state health centers and county municipal health departments must ensure completion of the hepatitis B vaccine series and post-vaccination testing for high-risk infants, ensure that all susceptible contacts of HBV-infected pregnant women are identified and offered vaccination, educate and counsel patients on health behaviors, accept reports of HBsAg positive women from private health care providers and report information to the department.
- The department must provide guidance, information, training and resources. They must also develop statewide hepatitis B prevention protocols and guidelines, maintain a patient tracking system for follow-up of immunizations, and provide HBIG and hepatitis B vaccine to infants and susceptible contacts of HBV infected pregnant women if unavailable from a private sources. The department provides hospitals with birthing facilities the hepatitis B vaccine, at no cost, through the Tot Trax program.