Outcomes of infants born to women infected with hepatitis B

Pediatrics. 2015 May;135(5):e1141-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3213. Epub 2015 Apr 20.


Background and objectives: Perinatal exposure is an important mode of hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission, resulting in chronic disease in ∼ 90% of infected infants. Immunoprophylaxis recommended for infants born to hepatitis B surface antigen-positive mothers reduces up to 95% of perinatal HBV infections. We sought to identify factors associated with perinatal HBV transmission.

Methods: We analyzed prospectively collected data from 5 of 64 US-funded Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Programs during 2007-2013. We examined effects of maternal demographic and laboratory results, infant gestational age and birth weight, and immunoprophylactic management on perinatal HBV infection.

Results: Data from 17,951 mother-infant pairs were analyzed. Among 9252 (51.5%) infants for whom hepatitis B surface antigen testing results were available, 100 (1.1%) acquired perinatal HBV infection. Both hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin were administered within 12 hours of birth for 10,760 (94.9%) of 11,335 infants with information. Perinatal HBV infection was associated with younger maternal age (P = .01), Asian/Pacific Islander race (P < .01), maternal hepatitis B e-antigen positivity (P < .01), maternal antibody to hepatitis B e-antigen negativity (P < .01), maternal viral load ≥ 2000 IU/mL (P = .04), and infant receipt of <3 HepB vaccine doses (P = .01). Four infants born to 429 mothers with viral load testing were infected; all 4 were born to mothers with viral loads in the ninth or tenth decile.

Conclusions: Perinatal HBV infection occurred among 1% of infants, most of whom received recommended immunoprophylaxis. Infants at greatest risk of infection were those born to women who were younger, hepatitis B e-antigen positive, or who had a high viral load or those infants who received <3 HepB vaccine doses.

Keywords: hepatitis B; immunization; perinatal; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / blood
  • Hepatitis B / transmission*
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / blood
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prospective Studies


  • Hepatitis B e Antigens