Number of Infants Born to HCV-Infected Mothers Significantly Rises in U.S.

Increase in rate of HCV detection in women of childbearing age, HCV testing among infants
Increase in rate of HCV detection in women of childbearing age, HCV testing among infants

HealthDay News — From 2011 to 2014 there were increases in the rate of hepatitis C virus (HCV) detection among women of childbearing age, according to research published in the July 25 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Alaya Koneru, MPH, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined trends in HCV detection among women of childbearing age, HCV testing among infants (aged ≤2 years), and the proportion of infants born to HCV-infected women nationally and in Kentucky.

The researchers found that among women of childbearing age, national rates of HCV detection increased 22% during 2011 to 2014. Among children aged ≤2 years, HCV testing increased 14%. Based on data from birth certificates there was a 68% increase in the proportion of infants born to HCV-infected mothers (from 0.19 to 0.32%). In Kentucky, which had the highest incidence of acute HCV infection during 2011 to 2014, there was a more than 200% increase in the HCV detection rate among women of childbearing age; a 151% increase in HCV testing among infants; and a 124% increase in the proportion of infants born to HCV-infected women (0.71 to 1.59%).

"These findings highlight the importance of following current CDC recommendations to identify, counsel, and test persons at risk for HCV infection, including pregnant women, as well as consider developing public health policies for routine HCV testing of pregnant women," the authors write.

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