KidsMD Health Topics

Neonatal Hepatitis C in Children

  • Overview

    You’re likely to be confused and overwhelmed—not to mention scared—if your infant has been diagnosed with congenital hepatitis C. But you can play an active role in helping him get better. Developing a basic understanding of the condition is a great first step as you partner with your child’s health care team to form a treatment plan.

    • Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver that is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It’s considered to be the most serious of the hepatitis viruses.
       
    • It’s spread by contact with contaminated blood, often through shared needle use.
       
    • A pregnant woman can pass the virus on to her developing fetus.
       
    • If a mother is known to have HCV, her newborn baby should be tested for presence of the virus 4-6 months after birth.
       
    • If your baby is infected, she may have lifelong liver problems, such as scarring of the liver and liver cancer.

    How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches neonatal hepatitis C

    Our Division of Infectious Diseases treats neonatal hepatitis C in infants.

    Physicians in the Division of Infectious Diseases care for children and adolescents with a variety of infections.

    • In addition to treating children, we also are dedicated to researching better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent infectious diseases.

    How does Children’s treat neonatal hepatitis C?
    Most people who are infected with hepatitis C have no symptoms. However, the virus can still be damaging your baby’s liver.

    • Your doctor will check your baby 4-6 months after birth to test for the presence of the virus.
      • If the test is positive, Children’s physicians will continue to monitor your baby for any worsening of her condition and will treat any symptoms she may develop.

    Center for Childhood Liver Disease

    Children’s Center for Childhood Liver Disease has a multidisciplinary program that includes hepatology, surgery, interventional radiology, interventional GI endoscopy, and pathology.

    Newborn medicine

    At Children's Division of Newborn Medicine, we specialize in treating babies with a wide range of congenital and acquired conditions. Your baby will be seen by a specially trained team of physicians, nurses, therapists and other health professionals who routinely diagnose and treat newborns with critical illnesses.

    Essential support services
    Read about general information and resources for Children’s patients and their families.

    Congenital Neonatal Hepatitis C: Reviewed by Sandra Burchett, MD, MSc, Clinical Director, Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases

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