Children who are exposed to the hepatitis B virus (HBV) during birth and early childhood have up to a 90% chance of becoming chronically infected. Up to 25% of those chronic carriers will die as a result of liver disease as an adult. These children are also capable of infecting others when they mature. These risks have made it important to ensure infants born to women with HBV receive the appropriate treatment to protect them from HBV. Annually, in Oregon, an estimated 130-230 infants are born to women infected with HBV. The Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP) was developed to ensure all children, especially those exposed at birth, are protected against HBV.
Information on acute and chronic hepatitis B in Oregon
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) PHBPP supports local health departments (LHD) as they take the lead role in coordinating perinatal hepatitis B prevention activities in their respective jurisdictions. These prevention services should be provided to all pregnant women identified as having HBV and their infants regardless of their source of payment for prenatal and delivery services. The PHBPP works to protect infants from hepatitis B infection by ensuring:
- All pregnant women are tested for HBV. Perinatal transmission can be prevented if identification of a hepatitis B positive pregnant woman is made in time. Detection of the hepatitis B virus is made through a simple blood test. For more information on testing, refer to the “Health Care” page.
- Infants born to mothers with HBV receive the proper preventative treatment. Administering a vaccine to infants born to hepatitis B positive mothers can reduce the risk of that child becoming infected. For more information on preventative treatment, refer to the “Health Care” page.
- All infants receive the hepatitis B immunization birth dose before hospital discharge. Vaccinating all infants is a safety net to ensure those born to women not tested for hepatitis B or women who had false negative test results are protected.
To see how well Oregon is doing at completing these activities, click here