The potential for perinatal hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission exists among women infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and expanded HCV testing guidelines may help ease the burden in this population. Researchers analyzed National Center for Health Statistics birth certificate data in 2017 to assess the number of HCV-infected women in the US delivering live births in 2015, and commercial laboratory data to assess HCV testing and positivity among women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and children aged <5 years from 2011 to 2016. They found:
- In 2015, 0.38% (n=14,417) of live births were delivered by women with HCV.
- Compared with births overall, births delivered by women infected with HCV occurred more often in those aged 20‒29 years, white, non-Hispanic; covered by Medicaid or other government insurance, and with rural residence.
- Among women of childbearing age, HCV testing increased by 39% from 2011 to 2016, and positivity increased by 36%.
- Among pregnant women, HCV testing increased by 135% and positivity increased by 39%.
- Among children, HCV testing increased by 25% and positivity increased by 13%.
Schillie SF, Canary L, Koneru A, et al. Hepatitis C virus in women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and children. Am J Prev Med. 2018;55(5):633-641. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2018.05.029.
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