Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can be passed from an infected pregnant woman to her child during birth. Without proper treatment and follow-up, approximately 40% of these infants will develop chronic hepatitis B infection. This can be prevented when health care providers are involved starting with pregnancy and continuing through the first year of the child's life.
Public Health's Role
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is notified about any Hepatitis B pregnant women and infants born to these women. MDH then provides the information to local Public Health departments for follow-up. In Scott County, a Public Health nurse is assigned to work with the family to help complete the medical care needed and prevent the Hepatitis B virus from spreading to the infant. While working with the mother, the Public Health nurse will:
Ensure the infant receives medicine, immuno-globulin, at birth
Give the infant a hepatitis B vaccine series
Complete blood work at one-year of age to verify the infant does not have hepatitis B.