Universal screening for hepatitis B among pregnant women led to 96% vaccination coverage among newborns of HBsAg positive mothers in DenmarkArchived

ECDC comment

Universal screening of pregnant women is feasible and has led to immunisation in nearly all identified cases in Denmark. As a consequence of the study the National Board of Health has made universal HBsAg screening of pregnant women permanent in the country.

Harder KM, Cowan S, Eriksen MB, Krarup HB, Christensen BP. Vaccine. 2011 Nov 21;29(50):9303-7. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Universal screening for HBV of pregnant women is a very effective strategy and allows to offer postnatal HBV-vaccination in the few countries that do not routinely immunize children against HBV and in all countries to identify mothers with high viral load for evaluation of pre-term treatment to interrupt in utero transmission. However, despite postpartum vaccination of children born from HBV-positive mothers, in utero transmission is still a possibility for mothers with a high HBV DNA viral load during pregnancy. Post-vaccination test of children would still be useful to identify vertical transmission of HBV infections in these situations.