Pregnant_woman2The DC Department of Health along with the Center for Disease Control has a renewed focus on Perinatal Hepatitis B prevention with the designation of a new Perinatal Hepatitis B Nurse Consultant Donna Sheler, RN BSN MBA.  According to the latest CDC point estimate for perinatal Hepatitis B births, the District of Columbia can expect approximately 74 new perinatal hepatitis B cases per year. This estimate is based on the number of births estimated in the District of Columbia for a given year and population ethnicity demographics. While the birth percentage in the District of Columbia for infants born to HBsAg+ mothers calculates to be only 0.78 percent, it still remains that a potential of 74 infants in one year could be infected with Hepatitis B as a result of perinatal transmission.

Prevention of perinatal transmission begins ideally with identification of HBsAg+ mothers during prenatal care. The DC Municipal Regulation 22 Section 207 requires that prenatal providers report positive Hepatitis B serum results to the DC Department of Health.  Pediatric providers are also partners in reporting as these infants will need follow up to help ensure that immunity to Hepatitis B is developed by timely vaccination. Reporting of perinatal Hepatitis B cases has been established and should be directed to the DC Immunization Program with the home page found at https://immunization.doh.dc.gov.  Providers are directed to go to the Perinatal Hepatitis B Case Report link under the “Forms” section of the website or contact the Perinatal Hep B Nurse Consultant at 202-576-9325 or by email at doh.phbcases@dc.gov)

Secondly, established hospital protocols (regarding Hepatitis B birth dose vaccination and HBIG administration within 12 hours of birth) can reduce the transmission rate of Hepatitis B from infected mothers.  For the latest information on Perinatal Hepatitis B management go to http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HBV/PerinatalXmtn.htm.