USPSTF: Screen All Pregnant Women Early for Hepatitis B

[Medpage Today, 1/8/19]  Task force reaffirms 2009 recommendation; draft currently open to comment.

All pregnant women should be screened for hepatitis B (HBV) at their first prenatal visit in order to avoid transmitting the disease to their newborns, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reaffirmed.

Net benefits of screening are “substantial,” the task force concluded with “high certainty” (A recommendation) in a draft recommendation statement on their website. The draft is available for public comment on the website through February 4, 2019.

Similar to other recent USPSTF statements on ocular prophylaxis to prevent gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum in newborns, and screening all pregnant women for syphilis, the Task Force used a reaffirmation process for this recommendation, where only a very high level of evidence would change their recommendation.

However, this has been an A recommendation since 1996, and again in 2009 when it was last reviewed, the task force said in a statement.

“In children, the primary source of hepatitis B infection is transmission at birth from an infected mother,” said task force member Alex Kemper, MD. “But we know that screening for hepatitis B in pregnant women can keep babies from getting the virus and prevent the onset of potentially lifelong serious health problems.”……

Read the Full Article at: Medpage Today

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