JANUARY 13, 1997
Protect your baby against Hepatitis B
The Washington State Department of Health warns that mothers infected with hepatitis B may transmit the disease to their newborns during childbirth.
Most infected babies won't show signs of illness, but will become hepatitis B carriers. Carriers may develop serious liver disease such as cirrhosis and cancer in their early adult lives. It is estimated that up to 25 percent of these infected babies will die of chronic liver disease as adults.
To protect newborns against hepatitis B, all pregnant women should get a hepatitis B blood test, and all babies should receive a series of three hepatitis B shots. Babies born to infected mothers must also receive Hepatitis B Immune Globulin (HBIG) at birth to prevent infection. If any of these shots are missed, a baby will not be fully protected.
For more information about hepatitis B, call your health care provider or the Washington State Department of Health, Hepatitis B Program, at (360) 664-3642.