Maternal infections

Published on 03/06/2015 by admin

Filed under Neonatal - Perinatal Medicine

Last modified 03/06/2015

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CHAPTER 26 Maternal infections

Viral disorders

Hepatitis B

Mothers who are positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) are at risk of passing the virus to their infants (risk 5–20%). The risk is estimated to be between 70% and 90% if they also have the hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg).

The time of most risk for the infant is the birth process, when the infant comes into contact with maternal blood and secretions. Antenatal transmission is very rare. Infants who acquire hepatitis B have >90% chance of chronic infection.


The most effective way of preventing hepatitis B infection is immunisation prior to exposure to the virus. Routine immunisation in infancy has been introduced in some countries.

Note that for babies born in Australia at <32 weeks gestational age (GA), hepatitis B immunisation will not be given until the first general immunisation time at 2 months of age, except to those whose mothers are HBsAg-positive for whom hepatitis B vaccination will be given as per the program for term infants.

Some countries adopt a risk-based approach to immunisation, where babies are offered hepatitis B immunisation if they fall into high-risk populations such as certain ethnic groups, or those whose mothers have a history of intravenous drug use.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV)

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