HealthDay News — The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection screening in pregnant women at their first prenatal visit. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online Jan. 8 by the task force.

Jillian T. Henderson, PhD, MPH, from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, and colleagues conducted a literature search to update the 2009 recommendation for HBV screening in pregnancy. A reaffirmation deliberation process was used to update the recommendation, which is used in cases of well-established evidence-based standards of practice in current primary care practice.

The researchers identified convincing evidence that universal prenatal screening reduced perinatal transmission of HBV and chronic HBV infection. Adequate evidence was found that vaccination of all infants against HBV infection and providing postexposure prophylaxis with hepatitis B immune globulin at birth to infants of mothers infected with HBV reduced the risk for infant acquisition of HBV infection. Limited evidence was found on the harms of HBV infection screening in pregnant women; the potential harms of screening were found to be no greater than small. Based on these findings the USPSTF recommends HBV screening at the first prenatal visit (A recommendation).

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The draft recommendation statement is available for comment from Jan. 8 to Jan. 29, 2019.

Draft Recommendation Statement
Draft Evidence Review
Comment on Recommendation