HCV Infection

About 6 in 100 infants born to mothers with hepatitis C become infected with the hepatitis C virus, and the risk of transmission is higher if the mother is also HIV positive.1 While there is no treatment available to prevent transmission of HCV from mother to child during pregnancy, screening for HCV infection during pregnancy allows health care providers to simultaneously identify infected mothers who should receive treatment during the postpartum period and infants who should receive testing during a pediatric visit.2 Curative treatment is not approved for children under age 3 years, infants who test HCV RNA positive at age 2 months or older, or HCV antibody positive at age 18 months or older. These infants should be monitored by a specialist who can initiate treatment with direct-acting antivirals at age ≥ 3 years.3


Estimated number of women with HCV infection who gave birth each year during 2006─20144


Estimated number of infants born with HCV infection each year during 2011─20144

Rate of maternal HCV infection at delivery, United States5

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for the Public. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  2. Schillie S, Wester C, Osborne M, Wesolowski L, Ryerson AB. CDC Recommendations for Hepatitis C Screening Among Adults — United States, 2020. MMWR Recomm Rep 2020;69(No. RR-2):1–17. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.rr6902a1.
  3. AASLD-IDSA. HCV testing and linkage to care. Recommendations for testing, managing, and treating hepatitis C. Available at: http://www.hcvguidelines.org/unique-populations/children. Accessed July 1, 2022.
  4. Ly, K. N., Jiles, R. B., Teshale, E. H., Foster, M. A., Pesano, R. L., & Holmberg, S. D. (2017). Hepatitis C virus infection among reproductive-aged women and children in the United States, 2006 to 2014. Annals of internal medicine, 166(11), 775-782.
  5. Ko JY, Haight SC, Schillie SF, Bohm MK, Dietz PM. National Trends in Hepatitis C Infection by Opioid Use Disorder Status Among Pregnant Women at Delivery Hospitalization — United States, 2000–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;68:833–838. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6839a1.
Page last reviewed: August 11, 2022