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Screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection during pregnancy identifies women whose infants are at risk of perinatal transmission. Data from a nationally representative sample showed a prevalence of maternal HBV infection of 85.8 cases per 100 000 deliveries from 1998 to 2011 (0.09% of live-born singleton deliveries in the United States). Although there are guidelines for universal infant HBV vaccination, rates of maternal HBV infection have increased annually by 5.5% since 1998. Children infected with HBV during infancy or childhood are more likely to develop chronic infection. Chronic HBV infection increases long-term morbidity and mortality by predisposing infected persons to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.
To update the 2009 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on screening for HBV infection in pregnant women.
The USPSTF commissioned a reaffirmation evidence update to identify substantial new evidence sufficient enough to change the prior recommendation. The USPSTF targeted its evidence review on the effectiveness and potential harms of screening and the effectiveness and harms of case management to prevent perinatal transmission.
The USPSTF previously found adequate evidence that serologic testing for hepatitis B surface antigen accurately identifies HBV infection. Interventions are effective for preventing perinatal transmission, based on foundational evidence and observational studies of US case management programs. In addition, there is evidence that over time, perinatal transmission has decreased among women and infants enrolled in case management, providing an overall substantial health benefit. Therefore, the USPSTF reaffirms its previous conclusion that there is convincing evidence that screening for HBV infection in pregnant women provides substantial benefit.
Conclusions and Recommendation
The USPSTF recommends screening for HBV infection in pregnant women at their first prenatal visit. (A recommendation)
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Corresponding Author: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, Stanford University, 616 Serra St, Encina Hall, Room C336, Stanford, CA 94305-6019 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Accepted for Publication: June 13, 2019.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS; Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MASc; Alex H. Krist, MD, MPH; Michael J. Barry, MD; Michael Cabana, MD, MA, MPH; Aaron B. Caughey, MD, PhD; Chyke A. Doubeni, MD, MPH; John W. Epling Jr, MD, MSEd; Alex R. Kemper, MD, MPH, MS; Martha Kubik, PhD, RN; C. Seth Landefeld, MD; Carol M. Mangione, MD, MSPH; Lori Pbert, PhD; Michael Silverstein, MD, MPH; Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH; Chien-Wen Tseng, MD, MPH, MSEE; John B. Wong, MD.
Affiliations of The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) members: Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California (Owens); Stanford University, Stanford, California (Owens); Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health, Manhasset, New York (Davidson); Fairfax Family Practice Residency, Fairfax, Virginia (Krist); Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (Krist); Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (Barry); University of California, San Francisco (Cabana); Oregon Health & Science University, Portland (Caughey); Mayo Clinic, Rochester, New York (Doubeni); Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Roanoke (Epling Jr); Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio (Kemper); Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Kubik); University of Alabama at Birmingham (Landefeld); University of California, Los Angeles (Mangione); University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Pbert); Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Silverstein); Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois (Simon); University of Hawaii, Honolulu (Tseng); Pacific Health Research and Education Institute, Honolulu, Hawaii (Tseng); Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts (Wong).
Author Contributions: Dr Owens had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. The USPSTF members contributed equally to the recommendation statement.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: All authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest. Authors followed the policy regarding conflicts of interest described at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/conflict-of-interest-disclosures. All members of the USPSTF receive travel reimbursement and an honorarium for participating in USPSTF meetings. Dr Barry reported receiving grants and personal fees from Healthwise (a nonprofit), outside the submitted work. Dr Doubeni reported receiving personal fees from UpToDate, outside the submitted work. Dr Wong reported that he participated in the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases’ Hepatitis B Guidance and Hepatitis B Systematic Review Group and contributed to the group’s hepatitis B guidelines. No other disclosures were reported.
Funding/Support: The USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body. The US Congress mandates that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) support the operations of the USPSTF.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: AHRQ staff assisted in the following: development and review of the research plan, commission of the systematic evidence review from an Evidence-based Practice Center, coordination of expert review and public comment of the draft evidence report and draft recommendation statement, and the writing and preparation of the final recommendation statement and its submission for publication. AHRQ staff had no role in the approval of the final recommendation statement or the decision to submit for publication.
Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the US government. They should not be construed as an official position of AHRQ or the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Additional Contributions: We thank Iris Mabry-Hernandez, MD, MPH (AHRQ), who contributed to the writing of the manuscript, and Lisa Nicolella, MA (AHRQ), who assisted with coordination and editing.
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