The prevalence of hepatitis B and C in an antenatal population of various ethnic origins

Epidemiol Infect. 1994 Dec;113(3):523-8. doi: 10.1017/s0950268800068539.


A total of 3522 samples of serum, collected anonymously from women attending an antenatal clinic, was tested for hepatitis B surface antigen and antibody to hepatitis C. The prevalence of anti-HCV was low; only five confirmed positives were found (0.14%). The prevalence of hepatitis B overall was 0.56%, but was 1.04% in women from immigrant groups. Hepatitis B carriage is therefore four times more common than hepatitis C carriage in the antenatal population comprised of various ethnic origins. The patterns of infection in the two viruses are reversed, hepatitis B being more common in Asian, S.E. Asian and West Indian mothers and hepatitis C being more common in mothers of white Caucasian origin. Routine antenatal screening for anti-HCV is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa / ethnology
  • Asia, Southeastern / ethnology
  • Black People
  • Black or African American
  • Carrier State / ethnology
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / immunology
  • Hepatitis Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B / ethnology*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis C / ethnology*
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / ethnology*
  • Prevalence
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • West Indies / ethnology
  • White People


  • Hepatitis Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies