Hepatitis C transmission from mothers to babies can be prevented through universal screening

Washington: In a recent study conducted by researchers in Canada stated that the transmission of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) from mothers to babies can be prevented.

The study was published in the journal, ‘Canadian Medical Association Journal.’
According to the study the transmission can only be prevented if Canada recommended universal screening for HCV in pregnancy.

Dr Chelsea Elwood, the lead author of the research said, “We encourage all care providers to consider the reproductive implications of HCV, to consider HCV screening in pregnancy and referral for treatment of HCV.”

“The time has come to move toward universal HCV screening in women who are pregnant, with initial prenatal investigations that are then repeated based on risk factors in the third trimester,” she concluded.

Almost half of the women infected with HCV are unaware of their infection, and current treatment with direct-acting antiviral regimens is quite effective.

“With the care gaps in both maternal screening in pregnancy and postnatal infant screening, Canada likely has a large cohort of infants, children and young adults with progressive liver disease, who could have been cured of the HCV infection if it had been identified early or, quite simply, would not have been infected at all,” the author explained.

The elimination of vertical transmission of HCV from mother to child is easily achievable with the collaboration of public health and health care professionals.