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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2009 Dec;10(17):2801-9. doi: 10.1517/14656560903304071.

Treatment of viral hepatitis in pregnancy.

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University of Milan Medical School, Sacco Clinical Sciences Institute, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Via GB Grassi 74, 20157 Milan, Italy.


Viral hepatitis can be caused by the hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses. In the Western world, hepatitis A, B or C do not seem to influence the course of pregnancy, whereas hepatitis E infection, when contracted during the second or third trimester, seems to have a higher risk of developing into a fulminant hepatitis. Mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis A seems to be very uncommon. The majority of HBsAg-positive and HBeAg-positive mothers can transmit the disease vertically. The timing of transmission is predominantly peripartum, and newborns of HBsAg-positive mothers should receive hepatitis B immunoglobulins within 12 h of birth, with HBV vaccine at birth and 1 and 6 months later. Hepatitis C is more often a chronic disease. Vertical transmission of hepatitis C is considered to be relatively rare but high viraemia or coinfection with HIV can increase this risk. There is currently no treatment to prevent this vertical transmission and pregnancies among HCV-positive mothers should not be discouraged. Infants should be tested for anti-HCV at 1 year and followed for the development of hepatitis. Breast feeding does not seem to play an important role in the transmission of hepatitis B and C.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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