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Aurora magazine

Should all women be tested for Hepatitis B?

New evidence supports the need to test all pregnant women for hepatitis B, so as not to infect newborns. According to a study by the University of Stanford, which analyzed the possible benefits of generalizing the practice. Children become ill with hepatitis B especially at the time of delivery.

The disease becomes chronic, evolves into cirrhosis or carcinoma. To avoid this, it would be enough to know in advance if the mother is ill. In this way it would be possible to reduce the risk of infection during childbirth. The US doctors had advised extending the practice to all in 1996. They repeated the recommendation in 2009, supporting it with the studies of Dr. Jillian Henderson. This new recommendation confirms the above, but is based on more recent analyzes.

The authors started from a 2012 study and a 2014 study, both focusing on prenatal screening programs. The purpose of the analysis was to verify the effective utility of a systematic serological test against hepatitis B. These confirmed the accuracy of the current tests and the efficacy in preventing the perinatal transmission of the disease. Furthermore, new studies show that there are benefits for future mothers too.

Recent studies have shown that antiviral treatments in pregnancy reduce or eliminate fetal infections. The possible side effects for mom and baby are minimal, so there are no contraindications. Unfortunately, only 84% of US women do the necessary checks. The remaining percentage exposes itself and the child to a series of problems that could be avoided with little.