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Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Jun;99(6):1049-52.

Risk of hepatitis B transmission in breast-fed infants of chronic hepatitis B carriers.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 75235-9032, USA.



To measure the rate of hepatitis B (HBV) transmission from chronic HBV carriers to breast-fed infants after immunoprophylaxis.


Since 1992, information on women with HBV during pregnancy has been collected in a prospective longitudinal study. Those HBV carriers and their infants participating in a county HBV immunoprophylaxis program were identified. Infants were followed for up to 15 months and examined for hepatitis B infection by hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg).


A total of 369 infants born to women with chronic HBV met the inclusion criteria and received hepatitis B immune globulin at birth and the full course of the hepatitis B vaccine series. We compared 101 breast-fed infants with 268 formula-fed infants. There was no significant difference between the two groups with respect to the number of women who were positive for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) (22% versus 26%, P =.51). Three women in the breast-feeding group had liver transaminase abnormalities, compared with six women in the formula-feeding group (P =.29). Overall, there were nine cases of HBV infection transmission (2.4%). None of the 101 breast-fed infants and nine formula-fed infants (3%) were positive for HBsAg after the initial vaccination series (P =.063). The mean length of time for breast-feeding was 4.9 months (range 2 weeks to 1 year).


With appropriate immunoprophylaxis, including hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine, breast-feeding of infants of chronic HBV carriers poses no additional risk for the transmission of the hepatitis B virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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