The hepatitis B carrier rate among the Indochinese refugees in the United States is 12 to 15%. Approximately 30 to 40% of these carriers are highly infectious. A mother who is an infectious carrier has almost a 100% chance of infecting her newborn. In view of this, unless proper precautions are taken, four of every one hundred Southeast Asian newborns will be infected with the Hepatitis B virus. Once infected, the newborn will have an 80 to 90% chance of becoming a carrier. A significant number of these carriers will die of cirrhosis and primary hepatocellular carcinoma as adults. In addition, health care providers are placed at risk when contaminated with the body fluids of carriers. Through an understanding of the serologic markers, a nurse-midwife can identify those prenatal clients who are at risk for transmitting hepatitis B. Once identified, the necessary preventative measures can be taken to interrupt the disease process in the newborn and protect health care personnel.