Perinatal Hepatitis B Virus Transmission in the United States. Prevention by Passive-Active Immunization

JAMA. 1985 Mar 22-29;253(12):1740-5.


Among infants born to women in whom sera are positive for both the hepatitis B surface antigen and the e antigen, 85% to 90% are infected with hepatitis B virus and become chronic hepatitis B surface antigen carriers. In a study to assess the effectiveness of passive-active prophylaxis (hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine) of such infants, we screened 18,842 pregnant Asian-American women: 8.7% were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen and 3.0% were also positive for hepatitis B e antigen. Thus far, 113 infants have received hepatitis B immune globulin (0.5 mL at birth) and hepatitis B vaccine (three 20-micrograms doses beginning at birth or at 1 month) and have been followed up for nine to 18 months. Among these infants, 16 have become chronic carriers, an incidence of only 14.2%. All of the uninfected infants have retained high levels of antibody to surface antigen, suggesting that they have had an active immune response to the vaccine and should have long-term protection against hepatitis B virus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans
  • Carrier State / epidemiology
  • Carrier State / prevention & control
  • Carrier State / transmission*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B / transmission*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Vaccination*


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens