Less Than 1 in 4 Perinatally Exposed Infants Tested for Hep C

Rate of testing significantly lower among African-American infants

infant on scale

THURSDAY, March 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Less than one-quarter of infants exposed to hepatitis C virus (HCV) receive testing, according to a study published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Susan M. Lopata, M.D., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues used vital statistics-linked administrative data for infants born from 2005 through 2014 to identify infants exposed to HCV who were enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program.

The researchers found that 23 percent of 4,072 infants exposed to HCV were tested. Testing was more likely among infants whose mothers were white versus African-American (96.6 versus 3.1 percent), used tobacco (78 versus 70 percent), and had HIV (1.3 versus 0.4 percent). Testing was also more likely among exposed infants who had a higher median of well-child visits (seven versus six visits). African-American infants were less likely to undergo general testing (adjusted odds ratio, 0.32) when accounting for maternal and infant characteristics and health care use patterns.

"Public health systems need to be bolstered to ensure that infants exposed to HCV are tested for seroconversion," the authors write.

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