Intrauterine infection is the main contributor to maternal-infantile transmission of HBV. This is a retrospective study of 158 HBsAg-positive pregnant women who delivered children from Jan 1st, 2004 to Dec.31th, 2006 in Wuhan City, China. We investigated the measures taken to prevent maternal-infantile transmission of hepatitis B virus and the infection status of children.
HBsAg-positive pregnant women were selected by a random sampling method when they accepted prenatal care in district-level Maternal and Child Health Hospitals. On a voluntary basis, these women completed questionnaires by face-to-face or phone interviews. The collected data were used to evaluate the immunization programs that pregnant women had received for preventing hepatitis B maternal-infantile transmission.
Among the 158 women, 143(90.5%) received Hepatitis B immune globulin during pregnancy, and 86.0% of their children were given Hepatitis B immune globulin and Hepatitis B vaccine. The rate of cesarean section was 82.3%, and 28.5% of these were aimed at preventing HBV infection. The rate of bottle feeding was 51.9%, and 89.0% of bottle feeding cases were for the purpose of preventing HBV infection. There were 71 cases of participants who were HBeAg-positive. Compared with the HBsAg+ HBeAg- group (only HBsAg-positive), the HBsAg + HBeAg+ group (HBsAg-positive and HBeAg-positive) had significantly higher rates of the caesarean section and bottle feeding resulting from hepatitis B (P < 0.05). Five cases were HBsAg-positive by Umbilical Cord Blood detection. The intrauterine infection rate of newborns was 6.7%. The chronic HBV rate of children was 4.0%.
Most HBsAg positive pregnant women have a growing awareness of maternal-infantile transmission of Hepatitis B virus and are receiving some form of preventative treatment, like combined immunization. Caesarean and bottle feeding are very common, often primarily to prevent transmission. Relatively few intrauterine infections were identified in this sample, but many infants did not appear to seroconvert after vaccination.