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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 4 (1993), Issue 5, Pages 288-291
Original Article

Prevention of Perinatal Hepatitis B Virus Transmission in an Obstetric/Infant Population

Paul J Parker,1 Theresa W Gyorkos,1,2 Joseph S Dylewski,2 Arvind K Joshi,3,4 and Elaine D Franco4

1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University and Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Montreal General Hospital, Canada
2Infectious Disease and Microbiology, St Mary’s Hospital, Canada
3Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St Mary’s Hospital, Canada
4Research Unit, Jewish General Hospital, Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Received 21 September 1992; Accepted 2 February 1993

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Study Design: This retrospective study reviewed the screening practice and seroprevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) among all mothers with live births at a teaching hospital in Montreal between November 1, 1990 and April 30, 1991.

Results: Most women (94%) were screened prenatally and 5.2% postnatally. Screening status could not be determined for 0.8% of women. One-quarter of all postnatal screening results were available only at 48 h or more postdelivery. No infants born to women with postnatal screening or to women with unknown screening status were immunized expectantly. The maternal seroprevalence was 1.08% (95% confidence interval from 0.6, 1.4). All 22 infants born to HBsAg-positive mothers had received hepatitis B immune globulin within 12 h of birth and the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine within 24 h. Follow-up of infants revealed that only 50% had received the second and third doses according to the recommended protocol, with 83% completing the immunization series.

Conclusion: These results indicate that a program of prenatal HBsAg screening and neonatal prophylaxis against hepatitis B can be successfully instituted in a high volume obstetric hospital, and that better monitoring of infants is required to ensure completion of vaccination.