Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)


hepatitis-b1. If I have chronic HBV can I breast feed my baby without worrying that he might get infected?

A study made in Texas on 101 breast-fed infants and 268 formula-fed infants after immunopropylaxis was applied showed that there is no risk in breast feeding your baby if you have chronic HBV. Appropriate immunoprophilaxies means administering hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine.

2. Does breast feeding have any consequence upon immunoprophylaxis, like leading to its failure?

It has been observed that the risk of immunoprofilaxis failure is approximately equal in breast fed babies of chronic HBV mothers and bottle fed babies. Also, breast feeding does not influence the response of anti-HBs in any negative ways.

3. Can a baby get HBV from its mother even during pregnancy, and what can be done about that?

Yes, the virus can transmit to the baby even during pregnancy, in fact this being one of the most frequent ways of increasing the number of carriers in the world. If a mother has HBV she can get intramuscular shots of HBV specific immunoglobulin (HBIG) during pregnancy and so this stops the virus from infecting the foetus. This solution is not 100% effective and 10%-20% of the babies still get HBV in their early life.

4. Can hepatitis B vaccination schedule initiated with one recombinant DNA vaccine be completed with another?

Studies have been made on 48 adults to see if this is true. At 0, 1 and 6 months they have been administered the first two doses of 10 micrograms with Merck Sharpe and Dohme’s recombinant DNA (MSD rDNA) vaccine (Recombivax HB). At month 6, the tested subjects received SmithKline Beecham’s recombinant DNA (SB rDNA) vaccine (Engerix-B). At the end of the vaccination program, the results were the same with the usuall cases when people get one type of recombinant DNA vaccine, so there is no harm in completing one type of vaccine with another.

5. Is hepatitis B vaccine safe if administered during pregnancy?

Scientists say that the vaccination does not lead to any congenital malformation or miscarriage, it is high immunogenic and protects babies in the immediate neonatal period. Doctors are still hesitant in administering all kind of vaccine during pregnancy, but the hepatitis B vaccine seems to be one of the few that can be given to a pregnant woman without causing damage.

6. Can still I use a vial of Hepatitis B vaccine if I kept it out of the refrigerator for a few days?

Tests have shown that after keeping the vial at 37 degrees C for 1 week the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of the vaccine were not altered and the vaccine’s properties were intact. This is a good thing, especially for those who live in a country where facilities for proper storage and transportation are not adequate yet.