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Newborn Hepatitis B Prevention Program (PHBPP)
immunize baby

The perinatal transmission of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) poses a serious threat to infants born to mothers infected with the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg).  Each year an estimated 22,000 infants are born to women in the United States that are HBsAg positive.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that close to 500 women are positive at the time of delivery in Pennsylvania. Prenatal screening for hepatitis B status has become a regulation in February 2002.
  • Infants born to HBsAg and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive mothers have a 70% to 90% chance of becoming infected with HBV if not treated at birth.
  • As many as 90% of infants infected with HBV may become chronic carriers.
  • As high as 25% of these HBV carriers may die in adulthood from cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  • Perinatal transmission accounts for 4% of all acute cases of HBV infection.   
What Are The Program’s Goal And Objectives?
Our goal is to reduce the incidence of perinatal hepatitis B infection in Pennsylvania.
Our Objectives:
1. Identify high risk infants by routinely screening all pregnant women for HBsAg

2. Administer hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns before discharge and Hepatitis B Immune Globulin (HBIG)to high-  risk infants at the appropriate dose within 12 hours of delivery along dose # 1 of the hepatitis B vaccine

3. Promote completion of the 3 dose hepatitis B vaccine series and the post-vaccination tests

4. Ensure that all susceptible contacts of HBV infected pregnant women are identified and offered vaccination
How Does The Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program Work?  
In order to achieve the program’s goal, the program must have the support and cooperation of the private and public health sectors. 
  • Hospitals and Prenatal Clinics must routinely screen all pregnant women for HBsAg, administer immunoprophylaxis to high-risk infants, educate and counsel patients on high risk behaviors, and communicate test results and immunization data to the patient and to the PA DOH.
  • District Offices/State Health Centers/County Municipal Health Departments must:  ensure completion of the hepatitis B vaccine series and post-vaccination testing for high-risk infants; ensure that all susceptible contacts of HBV infected pregnant women are identified and offered vaccination; educate and counsel patients on health behaviors; accept reports of HBsAg positive women from private health care providers; and report information to the PA DOH Division of Immunizations.
  • The PA DOH Division of Immunizations must:  provide guidance, information, training, and resources; develop statewide hepatitis B prevention protocols and guidelines; maintain a patient tracking system for follow-up of immunizations; and provide HBIG and hepatitis B vaccine to infants and susceptible contacts of HBV infected pregnant women if unavailable from a private source.
For more information regarding the Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program, contact the PA DOH Division of Immunizations Hepatitis Coordinator, at (717) 787-5681.