Public Health England (PHE) has launched new hepatitis B resources for immunisation staff and mothers infected with the disease.
A hepatitis B aide mémoire for primary care immunisation staff has been published, which includes information about testing babies born to hepatitis B-infected mothers. It aims to ensure arrangements are in place for identifying hepatitis B-infected mothers, allowing prompt registration of newborns and timely vaccination at four weeks and 12 month testing. It includes a checklist and information on accessing the free infant dried blood spots (DBS) testing service at Colindale.
The identification of a hepatitis B-infected mother should also be a prompt to test and vaccinate household and sexual contacts, noted PHE.
A new leaflet on antenatal screening for hepatitis B-positive pregnant women has also been launched and is available in several languages. The leaflet outlines the risks of mother to child transmission and the importance of vaccination starting immediately at birth and follow-up testing at 12 months.
These new resources are part of quality improvements to the antenatal screening and neonatal selective immunisation pathways for hepatitis B. A series of regional workshops are currently being held in England to inform maternity and primary care staff of the enhanced pathway, which is to be implemented from April 2019.
All these new hepatitis B resources, as well as existing ones, can be accessed here.
Each year in the UK, around 3,000 babies are born to hepatitis B-positive women.