Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP)
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a blood borne and sexually transmitted virus. Rates of new infection are highest among adults, but chronic or long lasting infection is more likely to occur in persons infected as infants or young children. Before hepatitis B vaccination programs became routine in the U.S., an estimated 30% to 40% of chronic infections are believed to have resulted from perinatal or early childhood transmission. Chronically infected persons are at increased lifetime risk for cirrhosis and cancers of the liver and also serve as the main source for disease transmission to others. Perinatal HBV transmission can be prevented by identifying HBV-infected (i.e., Hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg]-positive) pregnant women and providing hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and hepatitis B (hep B) vaccine to their infants within 12 hours of birth.
The Florida Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP) supports local County Health Departments (CHDs) and other partners as they take the lead role in coordinating perinatal hepatitis B prevention activities in their respective communities. Universal screening of pregnant women for HBsAg during each pregnancy is required by law for all providers of prenatal care in Florida. If a pregnant woman is found to be positive, proactive and responsive case identification, case management and follow-up for women, infants and contacts is provided. Infants born to HBsAg-positive women receive HBIG and hep B vaccine within 12 hours of birth, with follow-up doses of vaccine at 1 and 6 months of age then post-vaccination testing to ensure protection against HBV. A tracking system is used to ensure the infant receives appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis.
The Florida PHBPP is making great strides in preventing perinatally acquired HBV. Since 1990, only 76 cases of perinatal HBV infection in infants have been reported in Florida (five cases per year, on average), indicating that there is still work to be done. The PHBPP continues the fight to prevent perinatal transmission of HBV.
Florida's overall goal is to identify and treat all HBV positive women and those at risk as well as provide HBV prevention and protection to their infants and contacts. This goal will help to increase the chance that HBV is eliminated in the U.S.
More information regarding perinatal hepatitis B prevention.