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Keywords:

  • perinatal transmission;
  • intrauterine transmission;
  • chronic HBV carrier status;
  • follow-up;
  • infants

Abstract

Over 90% of infants infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) caused by mother-to-infant transmission will evolve to carrier status, and this cannot be prevented until widespread administration of the HB vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) is implemented. This prospective study of 214 infants born to HBsAg-positive mothers was carried out to determine if either perinatal or intrauterine HBV transmission could be effectively prevented with HBIG and the HB vaccine. Peripheral blood was collected from mothers and from newborns before they received HBIG and the HB vaccine, as well as at 0, 1, 7, 24, and 36 months after birth. Infants born with an ratio of signal to noise(S/N) value of >5 for HBsAg (ABBOTT Diagnostic Kit) were defined as mother-to-infant transmission cases, those with an S/N between 5 and 50 were classified as perinatal transmission cases, and those with an S/N >50 were considered intrauterine transmission cases. Mother-to-infant transmission occurred in approximately 4.7% (10/214) of the infants; the perinatal transmission and intrauterine transmission rates were 3.7% (8/214) and 0.9% (2/214), respectively. The risk of mother-to-infant transmission increased along with maternal HBeAg or HBVDNA levels. After 36 months of follow-up, all perinatal cases became HBsAg-negative, whereas all intrauterine transmission cases evolved into carrier status. These results indicate that infants infected via intrauterine transmission cannot be effectively protected by HBIG and HB vaccine. J. Med. Virol. 83:791–795, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.