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Pediatrics. 2003 May;111(5 Pt 2):1192-7.

Hepatitis B surface antigen prevalence among pregnant women in urban areas: implications for testing, reporting, and preventing perinatal transmission.

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  • 1Epidemiology and Surveillance Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.



To estimate race/ethnicity-specific prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in pregnant urban women and to evaluate factors associated with maternal HBsAg testing.


A multicenter, retrospective chart review was conducted of a racially/ethnically stratified random sample of maternal/infant charts of 10 523 women who gave birth to live infants during 1990-1993 in 4 urban areas in the United States. Data were collected on multiple variables, including demographic variables, HBsAg test dates and results, prenatal care type, and amount and source of payment.


HBsAg prevalence among white non-Hispanics was 0.60% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.22-0.98), black non-Hispanics 0.97% (95% CI: 0.48-1.47), Hispanics 0.14% (95% CI: 0.01-0.26), and Asians 5.79% (95% CI: 4.42-7.16). HBsAg testing rates increased from 56.6% in 1990 to 78.2% in 1993. Factors associated with not being tested varied by urban area, but in the combined area model, they were having no or private prenatal care (odds ratios: 18.75 and 5.07, respectively) and being black (odds ratios: 2.08). Only 20.9% (95% CI: 19.1%-22.8%) of those not tested prenatally were tested at delivery. The expected number of infants born to HBsAg-positive study-area women was 3327 using study prevalence rates, compared with 1761 using national rates.


To help ensure that all urban infants who are born to HBsAg-positive women receive appropriate prophylaxis, health officials in urban areas should use urban-area prevalence rates to ascertain completeness of reporting maternal HBsAg positivity. Needed steps to increase maternal HBsAg testing rates include ensuring that more pregnant women receive prenatal care, promoting testing by private providers, educating providers about testing in all racial and ethnic groups, and reminding providers to test at delivery those women not tested prenatally.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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