Call to Action: Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of Hepatitis B in Africa

Peyton Wilson*, Jonathan B. Parr, Ravi Jhaveri, Steve R. Meshnick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a significant public health issue that has not been adequately addressed, especially in the high-prevalence region of Africa. Despite the incorporation of HBV vaccines into the Expanded Program on Immunization, children continue to be infected with HBV through maternal-to-child transmission (MTCT). The addition of a birth dose of HBV vaccine would be a cost-effective method to reduce MTCT. Birth-dose HBV vaccine policies have been adopted in the Western Pacific region but not yet in Africa. Even better protection against HBV MTCT can be achieved by treatment of pregnant women with high HBV viral loads with tenofovir. Tenofovir is already widely used in prevention of HIV MTCT (PMTCT) programs. We suggest that existing HIV PMTCT programs could be expanded to deliver care for HBV-infected pregnant women. With appropriate adoption of birth-dose vaccination policies and expansion of PMTCT programs, elimination of HBV MTCT in Africa is achievable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1180-1183
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Mar 28 2018


  • hepatitis B vaccine
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • mother-to-child transmission
  • pregnancy
  • sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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