Vertical transmission of hepatitis C: Testing and health-care engagement

Vertical transmission of hepatitis C: Testing and health-care engagement.

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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Official URL:
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume: 54
Number: 6
Page Range: pp. 647-652
Date: 2018
Divisions: Liver Immunology
Depositing User: General Admin
Identification Number: 10.1111/jpc.13832
ISSN: 10344810
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2021 22:31

Aim: To investigate hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing patterns and engagement with health care for women positive for HCV antibodies (anti-HCV) in pregnancy and their children through pregnancy and the first 2 years of the child's life.

Methods: At a large inner-city Australian hospital from 2010 to 2012, anti-HCV positive pregnant women were recruited into a cohort study from pregnancy to 2 years post-delivery. Maternal and child data were collected by questionnaire and medical record extraction.

Results: During the study 29 women participants delivered 31 children. HCV RNA was detected in 64% (18/28) of pregnancies, with injecting drug use, the most likely route of maternal infection. Relatively high maternal health-care engagement during pregnancy reduced after delivery. There was evidence of ongoing illicit drug use in the majority of women. Of the children, 58% (18/31) had some HCV testing confirmed but complete testing was confirmed for only 10% (3/31). Largely, testing was incomplete or unknown. No vertical transmission was identified. Forty-two percent (13/31) of children were placed in out-of-home-care.

Conclusions: Potentially, there is a high risk of inadequate or incomplete HCV testing of vulnerable children. Ongoing maternal drug use, poor maternal health-care engagement and placement in out-of-home-care may increase the risk. Complete testing of all children at risk of vertically acquired HCV needs to be ensured.

Keywords: child; hepatitis C; infectious disease transmission, vertical; substance abuse, intravenous; substance-related disorder.

© 2018 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians).

Reid, Sharon
Day, Carolyn A
Bowen, David G
Minnis, Jeannie
Ludlow, Joanne
Jacobs, Sue
Gordon, Adrienne
Haber, Paul S
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2021 22:31

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