Chronic hepatitis B infection is a major cause of liver disease worldwide and can be transmitted from mother to baby.
It is very infectious and can be passed:
- from a mother to her baby during pregnancy and birth
- from person to person through blood and other bodily fluids, including from unprotected sex with an infected person
- from infected blood by sharing needles and/or any drug injecting equipment or non-sterile equipment used for dental, medical, tattooing or body piercing
In England, an estimated 0.4% of pregnant women have hepatitis B and this rises to 1% in London.
Screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been part of the NHS Infectious Diseases in Pregnancy screening programme (IDPS) since 2000, with around 3,000 babies born to women with HBV each year.
The NHS Infectious Diseases in Pregnancy screening programme is supporting the National Hepatitis B in Pregnancy Audit. The audit covers pregnant women with hepatitis B who booked for antenatal care in England between 1 January and 31 December 2014. The results will help inform and shape the future care of pregnant women with hepatitis B, as well as their babies. The aim is to assess the current management of women with hepatitis B in pregnancy to inform future national standards and guidelines. This should bring the service up to the excellent standard already established across the UK for screening and caring for pregnant women with HIV.
The audit team based at The Institute of Child Health, UCLH and the IDPS Programme would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to the Hepatitis B in Pregnancy National Audit.
We have so far received trust data on around 2,500 pregnant women with hepatitis B in 2014. We have also now received around 1,400 completed referral forms – which include information on referrals to and attendance at specialist services.
Reminder emails were sent to trusts with details of the outstanding referrals to submit. Data is important so please submit your trust’s data as soon as possible.
If you have any questions about any aspect of this, please do not hesitate to contact Heather Bailey (audit coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7905 2396.
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