Why do children still get hepatitis B if they are vaccinated at birth? How to prevent it?

In July, the second instance of the “28-year-old wrong life incident” upheld the original verdict, which marked a phased end to the incident of “carrying the wrong” child. The reason for the death of the protagonist Yao Ce has once again attracted people’s attention.

Yao Ce’s biological mother has hepatitis B. During childbirth, in order to block the mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B, Yao Ce should have been given immune globulin. Wrong”, so the vaccine was not given to Yao Ce. Yao Ce was found to be carrying the hepatitis B virus when he was two years old. After receiving treatment, he got married and had children. He was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2020 and died soon after.

In 1992, about 120 million people were infected with hepatitis B virus in my country. After more than ten years of efforts, the number of people carrying hepatitis B virus has been greatly reduced, but there are still 70 million people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection, of which 20-30 million are hepatitis B patients, and many are children.

Why do children have hepatitis B virus?

Mother-to-child transmission, blood transmission and sexual contact transmission are the three main transmission routes of hepatitis B.

However, hepatitis B is not transmitted through food or water, so normal contact in life, such as eating together, hugging and shaking hands, or even coughing, sneezing, etc., cannot transmit hepatitis B virus.

The vast majority of hepatitis B in my country is vertical mother-to-child transmission and early childhood infection. And once a newborn is infected with hepatitis B virus, it often carries it for life.

According to statistics, among all the transmission routes of hepatitis B, the rate of vertical transmission of mother-to-child infection accounts for 30-50%. Some data show that if a mother has hepatitis B, it will be transmitted to the mother during childbirth. The chances of having children are as high as 90%.

In addition, the hepatitis B virus can also be transmitted to children through skin, wounds, and blood as they grow up.

Do children need treatment for hepatitis B?

Some people think that children infected with hepatitis B virus have no obvious clinical manifestations, feel no adverse reactions, and do not affect the growth and development of children, so they can not receive treatment.

Actually, this idea is wrong. Compared with adults, children have larger livers, poorer immune function, more susceptible to infection, and are more likely to be long-term carriers.

Hepatitis B develops very slowly step by step. Many people are infected with hepatitis B virus to become chronic hepatitis B patients, and then become chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. It takes five to ten years, or even Twenty or thirty years.

And there is no pain nerve in the liver parenchyma. Even if there is a lesion, the pain will not attract people’s attention, and it is often on the verge of life and death once it is discovered.

Like Yao Ce mentioned at the beginning of the article, he was found to have hepatitis B at the age of 2. Although he was treated, he was found to have liver cancer at the age of 28, and finally died.

my country’s children with hepatitis B virus infection lead to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer as high as 34%-95%. Liver cancer is the second most deadly cancer. The study also found that the younger the age when infected with hepatitis B, the easier it is to become chronic hepatitis B, and the hat of hepatitis B will not be removed for a lifetime.

Therefore, children should be prevented from contracting hepatitis B virus as much as possible, and they should be diagnosed and treated early if the infection cannot be avoided.

How to prevent children from contracting hepatitis B?

If the mother carries the hepatitis B virus, the first step is to block the mother-to-child, which is divided into two types: prenatal and postnatal. When the level of hepatitis B virus in the mother’s blood is particularly high, expectant mothers need to take antiviral drugs from 24 weeks to 28 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the load of hepatitis B virus, thereby reducing the risk of mother-to-child transmission.

After the baby is born, the hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin must be taken, so that the mother-to-child block can be well achieved, and the newborn can be prevented from being infected with the hepatitis B virus as much as possible.

Other children also need to be fully vaccinated against hepatitis B. Since the introduction of neonatal hepatitis B vaccination in China, the carrier rate of hepatitis B virus among children in my country has been greatly reduced, ensuring that 30 million children are protected from hepatitis B virus infection.

Current research shows that the immune protection rate of hepatitis B vaccine in the neonatal period can reach about 90%, and the hepatitis B antibody formed in the body will decrease with time. In addition, it is also affected by genetics, obesity and other factors, so it is necessary to do regular hepatitis B antibody tests.

Children who are already infected with hepatitis B should be treated under the guidance of a doctor.