The management of HCV infected pregnant women and their children. European Paediatric HCV Network

Università degli Studi di Torino, Torino, Piedmont, Italy
Journal of Hepatology (Impact Factor: 11.34). 10/2005; 43(3):515-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2005.06.002
Source: PubMed


As evidence accumulates relating to mother-to-child (vertical) transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV), it is timely to draw up guidelines for the clinical management of HCV infected pregnant women and their children.
A review of evidence from the European Paediatric HCV Network (EPHN) prospective study of HCV infected women and their children and other published studies. Meeting of EPHN clinical experts to reach a consensus on recommendations for management. Each recommendation was graded according to the level of evidence.
Although several risk factors for mother-to-child transmission have been identified, none are modifiable and there are currently no interventions available to prevent vertical transmission of HCV. Data on timing of loss of maternal antibodies and reliability of diagnostic tests inform the optimum follow-up schedule for confirmation or exclusion of infection in children born to HCV infected women. Based on the current evidence, routine antenatal screening for HCV should not be introduced and neither elective caesarean section nor avoidance of breastfeeding should be recommended to HCV infected women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HCV. HCV/HIV co-infected women should follow existing HIV guidelines.

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    • "The infants were tested for exclusion of vertical HCV infection at birth and at the age of 1 mo. Two negative results of measurement of qualitative plasma HCV viral load were the basis to exclude vertical HCV infection (27). "
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    ABSTRACT: There is some evidence that early colonization of the intestine affects the composition of the intestinal microbiota after weaning. In the present study, the effect of prebiotics administered from the first day of life on fecal counts of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli were studied during and after the administration of the prebiotics. In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, explorative study, 20 newborns of hepatitis C virus-infected mothers who decided not to breast feed due to their concerns regarding their plasma viral load were randomly assigned to either a formula with 8 g/L of a specific prebiotic mixture (short-chain galacto-oligosaccharides and long-chain fructo-oligosaccharides, ratio 9:1) or a formula containing the same amount of maltodextrin (placebo). Clinical examination including anthropometric measurements, microbiological analysis of fecal samples, and blood leukocyte population analysis were performed at birth and 3, 6, and 12 mo age. At the age of 12 mo, hepatitis B vaccine-specific IgG serum titers (Hepatitis B virus surface antibodies) were also measured. Prebiotic supplementation resulted in more fecal bifidobacteria (P < 0.0001) and lactobacilli (P = 0.0044) compared with the placebo group. These differences between the groups were maintained during the second half of the first year without any prebiotic supplementation. There was no influence of the different diets on anthropometric data or the measured immunological variables. The data from this small explorative study indicate that early colonization of the intestine might have long-lasting effects on the composition of the intestinal microbiota.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Journal of Nutrition
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    • "Routine antenatal HCV screening to prevent vertical transmission is a controversial issue and is not universally implemented. Although HCV infection is considered an important public health problem for which reliable screening tests exist, treatment is contra-indicated during pregnancy due to the potential risks of the diagnostic procedure [4-7]. In general, antenatal and population screening is recommended for those possessing a risk factor for HCV acquisition, such as intravenous drug users, recipients of blood transfusions or organs before 1990, haemodialysis patients and HIV-infected individuals [8,9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections are a major burden to public health worldwide. Routine antenatal HIV-1 screening to prevent maternal-infant transmission is universally recommended. Our objectives were to evaluate the prevalence of and potential risk factors for HCV and HIV infection among pregnant women who attended prenatal care under the coverage of public health in Central Brazil. Screening and counselling for HIV and HCV infections was offered free of charge to all pregnant women attending antenatal clinic (ANC) in the public health system, in Goiania city (~1.1 million inhabitants) during 2004-2005. Initial screening was performed on a dried blood spot collected onto standard filter paper; positive or indeterminate results were confirmed by a second blood sample. HCV infection was defined as a positive or indeterminate sample (EIA test) and confirmed HCV-RNA technique. HIV infection was defined according to standard criteria. Factors associated with HIV and HCV infections were identified with logistic regression. The number needed to screen (NNS) to prevent one case of infant HIV infection was calculated using the Monte Carlo simulation method. A total of 28,561 pregnant women were screened for HCV and HIV-1 in ANC. Mean maternal age was 23.9 years (SD = 5.6), with 45% of the women experiencing their first pregnancy. Prevalence of HCV infection was 0.15% (95% CI 0.11%-0.20%), and the risk increased with age (p < 0.01). The prevalence of anti-HIV infection was 0.09% (95% CI 0.06%-0.14%). Black women had a 4.9-fold (95% CI 1.42-16.95) greater risk of HIV-1 infection compared to non-black women. NNS to prevent one case of infant HIV infection ranged from 4,141 to 13,928. The prevalence of HIV and HCV infections were low among pregnant women, with high acceptability rates in the opt-in strategy in primary care. Older maternal age was a risk factor for HCV and antenatal HCV testing does not fulfill the requirements for screening recommendation. The finding of higher risk of HIV-1 infection among black women despite being in consonance with the HIV-1 ethnic pattern in some American regions cannot be ruled out to be a surrogate marker of socio-economic condition.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · BMC Infectious Diseases
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    • "The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support breastfeeding by mothers with HCV infection.76 At present neither elective Cesarean section nor avoidance of breastfeeding should be recommended to HCV-infected women77 although scattered reports do show a higher risk of HCV transmission for infants whose mothers were HCV-RNA positive in breast milk.78 However, Mast and colleagues reported that membrane rupture ≥6 hours and internal fetal monitoring were associated with increased rates of transmission of HCV from mother to infant, suggesting a possibility of reduction of transmission by modification of obstetric practices.79 "
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    ABSTRACT: Since 1992, the maternal-fetal route of transmission has become the dominant route for acquisition of hepatitis C (HCV) infection by children. With increasing knowledge of antiviral treatment for HCV infection, the main goal of therapy is to achieve a sustained virological response (SVR) as defined by undetectable serum HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction assay six months after cessation of therapy. In young children, interferon therapy is more effective than in adults with chronic HCV infection (CHC). Although children clearly have a milder degree of liver pathology, data have indicated that hepatic inflammation from HCV infection can progress to fibrosis or cirrhosis in children. Hepatocellular carcinoma has been reported in adolescents with CHC. In this article, recent improvements in therapy of children with CHC and in the clinical development of new emerging drugs with potential use in children will be reviewed.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
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