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Significant number of at-risk newborn babies do not receive hepatitis B vac

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A new study has found that nearly 20 percent of babies born to mothers who have tested positive for hepatitis B have not received treatments known to protect newborns from developing the infection.

In the study, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed the medical records of 4,762 mothers and 4,786 infants, finding that 18 women had tested positive for hepatitis B after being admitted to the hospital, according to Health Day News.

The research team found that while 62 percent of babies received the full hepatitis B treatment, almost 20 percent of newborns left the hospital without being administered immunoglobulin and nearly 14 percent did not receive a vaccination.

"A key message of the study is that hepatitis B virus transmission is almost entirely preventable through vaccination and prophylaxis," said study author Bayo Willis.

"We really need hospitals to have correct policies in place and to implement those policies so that every newborn is protected before they leave the hospital," he added.

In the U.S., approximately 1.4 million people have chronic hepatitis B infection, which causes as many as 4,000 deaths annually.

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