Korean J Med.  2014 Nov;87(5):557-564. 10.3904/kjm.2014.87.5.557.

Preventing Vertical Transmission of Hepatitis B virus

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea. jsleemd@paik.ac.kr


Vertical transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the main source of chronic infection in Korea, an HBV-endemic area, and chronically infected people are at high risk of developing liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. Thus, preventing vertical transmission is an important step in eradicating or reducing the burden of chronic HBV infection. However, despite passive-active immunoprophylaxis provided to infants, up to 10% of infants born to highly viremic mothers still become infected with HBV. Therefore, antiviral treatments or management protocols to reduce vertical transmission should be considered for highly viremic mothers and infants born to these mothers. Additionally, in-depth discussions with the mothers about the risks, benefits, and limitations of the current published data are essential. This article reviews the potential mechanisms of vertical transmission and current intervention strategies to prevent vertical transmission of HBV.


Antiviral agents; Hepatitis B virus; Vertical transmission; Pregnancy
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