An increasing proportion of foreign-born residents in the Bronx, New York are African immigrants from West Africa, a region with a very high hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) prevalence. Charts of 114 HBsAg positive parturients who gave birth between 2004 and 2008 in a community hospital in the Bronx were retrospectively reviewed. Most were of West-African origin (88 %). Acute hepatic inflammation was rare (4 %). Active viral replication (Hepatitis B e-antigen positivity) was noted in a minority (7 %), but in 3/5 (60 %) HIV co-infected women. Among the West-African immigrant women who agreed to be interviewed (n = 39), only half (54 %) had ever heard of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, and their knowledge of HBV was mostly incomplete. This study shows that pregnancy-related health interventions may offer unique opportunities to link such women to specialist care and initiate culturally sensitive HBV-relevant education for the index case and her family.
Hepatitis B Knowledge Parturient Immigrant West Africa