Source Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.
PURPOSE: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is endemic in many countries, but the risk factors for HBV carriage in the obstetric population are unclear.
METHODS: A survey on 1,580 women attending the antenatal clinic in an endemic region was conducted in order to examine the prevalence of and factors associated with maternal HBV carriage, including socio-demographic, medical, and previous obstetrical and family history, by means of a questionnaire.
RESULTS: The prevalence of maternal HBV carriage was 9.1%, and 4.8% of women with a history of hepatitis B vaccination were found to be HBV carriers. Factors associated with maternal HBV carriage were residency status (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 3.65 for immigrants; aOR 7.62 for non-residents), positive family history (aOR 3.72 for infected mother; aOR 5.36 for other family members), no previous vaccination (aOR 4.39) and having previous HBsAg testing (aOR 2.26).
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that there was probably an overlooked role of horizontal transmission within the family setting in addition to perinatal transmission in determining the likelihood of HBV infection in our obstetric population. Reconfirmation of hepatitis B status might be necessary among individuals with a history of vaccination to ensure the effectiveness of their immunoprotection.