Efficacy of selective antenatal screening for hepatitis B among pregnant women in Denmark: Is selective screening still an acceptable strategy in a low-endemicity country?

  • Jensen L
  • Heilmann C
  • Smith E
 et al. 
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The prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriage in Denmark is unknown, but expected to be low (0.1{%}). This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of selective antenatal screening for HBV infection and the epidemiology of HBV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among pregnant women. 4098 women were included in the study. Blood tests were examined for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), anti-hepatitis B core antigen (HBc) and anti-HCV. Case records were studied to evaluate whether patients at risk for HBV infection had been tested. Among the 4098 women, 18 [0.4{%}, 95{%} confidence interval (95{%} CI) 0.3-0.7] were HBsAg positive. All had a risk factor for HBV infection. Only 13 (72{%}) were identified as HBsAg positive in the selective screening programme. 115 women (2.8{%}, 95{%} CI 2.3-3.4) were anti-HBc positive only. 95 (83{%}) were at risk for HBV. Only 72 of these (63{%}) were tested for HBsAg. The screening programme in this area of Denmark did not pick up one-third of pregnant women at risk of HBV.

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  • Lise Jensen

  • Carsten Heilmann

  • Else Smith

  • Per Wantzin

  • Birgit Peitersen

  • Tom Weber

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