Introduction: Perinatal transmission is an increasingly important mode of hepatitis C virus transmission. The authors characterized U.S. births among hepatitis C virus-infected women and evaluated trends in hepatitis C virus testing and positivity in women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and children aged less than 5years.
Methods: In 2017, National Center for Health Statistics birth certificate data (48 states and District of Columbia) were analyzed to assess the number of hepatitis C virus-infected women delivering live births in 2015, and commercial laboratory data were analyzed to assess hepatitis C virus testing and positivity among women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and children aged <5years from 2011 to 2016.
Results: In 2015, a total of 0.38% (n=14,417) of live births were delivered by hepatitis C virus-infected women. Births delivered by hepatitis C virus-infected women, compared with births overall, occurred more often in women who were aged 20-29years (60.7% vs 50.9%); white, non-Hispanic (80.2% vs 52.8%); covered by Medicaid or other government insurance (79.2% vs 43.9%); and had rural residence (26.0% vs 14.0%). From 2011 to 2016 laboratory data, among women of childbearing age, hepatitis C virus testing increased by 39%, from 6.1% to 8.4%, and positivity increased by 36%, from 4.4% to 6.0%. Among pregnant women, hepatitis C virus testing increased by 135%, from 5.7% to 13.4%, and positivity increased by 39%, from 2.6% to 3.6%. Among children, hepatitis C virus testing increased by 25%, from 0.47% to 0.59%, and positivity increased by 13%, from 3.6% to 4.0%.
Conclusions: The potential for perinatal hepatitis C virus transmission exists. Expanded hepatitis C virus testing guidelines may address the burden of disease in this population.
Published by Elsevier Inc.