Asian baby laying with stuffed animal panda

Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program

Tarrant County Public Health's Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program provides case management for infants born to mothers who test Hepatitis B positive during prenatal care or at the time of delivery.

For eligible clients the program offers testing, vaccinations and extensive education to prevent the infection in all household members.

Prenatal providers are also encouraged to contact the local health department if they diagnose Hepatitis B in a pregnant patient via the provider portal. To see a list of notifiable diseases, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

For more information regarding these services, call 817-321-4727.

What is Hepatitis B?

“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected.

Hepatitis B is a highly infectious virus that attacks the liver and can cause liver disease, cancer and death. Some people are able to fight the infection and clear the Hepatitis B virus. For others, the virus remains in their body and becomes a chronic, or lifelong illness.


Hepatitis B spreads by:

  • A Hepatitis B-infected mother to her baby during birth
  • Direct contact with Hepatitis B-infected blood
  • Unprotected sex with a person that is infected with Hepatitis B
  • Contact with open sores of a Hepatitis B-infected person
  • Getting bit by a Hepatitis B-infected person
  • Sharing personal care items such as razors, nail clippers and toothbrushes
  • Using the same immunization needle with others
  • Using unterilized needles for body peircing or tattooing

You cannot get Hepatitis B by:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Breastfeeding
  • Food or water
  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Sharing utensils with someone who is infected


Many pepople with Hepatitis B have no symptoms, but they can still spread the virus to others.

If symptoms occur, they begin an average of 90 days after exposure to the virus, but they can appear any time between eight weeks and five months after exposure. Symptoms usually last several weeks, but some people can feel sick for as long as six months. 

Acute or short-term Hepatitis B symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Caly-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes)

How Do I Know If I Have Hepatitis B and Who Should Be Tested?

The only way to know is through blood tests. Healthcare providers should provide Hepatitis B testing during pregnancy and at delivery for all pregnant women. Hepatitis B testing si recommended for:

  • People who were born in some Asian countries, especially Southeast Asia and whose parents were born in these Asian countries
  • People who live with someone who has Hepatitis B
  • People who have other risk factors for exposure to Hepatitis B, such as a history of intravenous drug use, sexually transmitted diseases and body piercing or tattooing with unsterile equipment


The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated. The vaccine has been around since 1982 and has been proven to be safe and effective. You need to get all shots in the series to be fully protected.

If you are infected and are pregnant, inform the nurses and doctors at the hospital where you will deliver your baby. Make sure your baby receives the Hepatitis B vaccine and the Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) vaccine with 12 hours of birth. 

Below is the Hepatitis B vaccine schedule for babies born to women with Hepatitis B:

Age Your baby will need
Birth 1st dose of Hepatitis B vaccine and HBIG
1-2 months 2nd dose of Hepatitis B vaccine
6 months 3rd dose of Hepatitis B vaccine
9-12 months        Post-vaccination serologic testing (blood test) to make sure your baby is protected from Hepatitis B