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 Approximately 5%-25% of persons with chronic hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis over 10-20 years.2 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 could receive treatment during the postpartum period and infants who should receive testing during a pediatric visit. Although treatment is not approved for children under 3 years of age, infants who test positive should be monitored. 3


Estimated number of women with HCV infection who gave birth each year between 2006 and 20144


Estimated number of infants born with HCV infection each year between 2011 and 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. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  2. Thomas DL, Seeff LB. Natural history of hepatitis C. Clin Liver Dis 2005;9:383–98, vi.
  3. 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.
  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.
Page last reviewed: June 12, 2020