Practice News

March 2015

Hepatitis A and Pregnancy

Recently Hepatitis A has been in the press as a result of the ingestion of a certain brand of berries packaged overseas and sold locally.

Of course pregnant women who may have ingested these berries have been concerned that this may affect their unborn or recently born child.

Although there is a reported increased risk of “fetal distress” (not qualified but presumably during labour), premature rupture of the membranes and low birth weight, the actual risk is very low and can be largely discounted while if a newborn baby becomes infected they usually only experience very mild physical symptoms similar to their mothers.

Hepatitis A does not cause chronic long term disease and once infected the immunity is lifelong.

With regard to the mothers, they may contract the disease by ingestion/exposure per food, drinks, contaminated eating utensils, cigarettes, contact with bodily fluids and faeces, oral and anal sex.

There is an average four week incubation period followed by nausea, headaches, poor appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, enlarged liver and there is a two week infectious period.

Pregnant women can be safely vaccinated in pregnancy as it is an inactivated viral vaccine and the immunity it confers will last up to twelve months.

It may take up to two to five weeks before the virus can be detected in the mother’s blood.

This is a notifiable disease and public health measures including contact tracing is necessary to control the spread of the Hepatitis A virus.

Our midwives Deanna and Jaqui have been kept busy addressing the concerns of our patients as might be anticipated.

Dr. Anthia Rallis, who has recently joined WHS, has been very grateful for the support she has received from her general practitioner colleagues who have referred their patients to her.

She is also enjoying her new role as a Visiting Obstetrician at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Dr Rallis will be an active participant in the coming RANZCOG/RCOG Congress in Brisbane in April while Prof Svigos will be attending a Colposcopy Workshop in Sydney in March, a Fetal fibronectin Clinicians Board Meeting in Brisbane in April and then his annual commitment of convening the Combined Clinical Meeting of medical and midwifery staff of Sanglah Hospital and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Bali in May.

Dr Rallis and Prof Svigos will cover each others’ patients during their respective absence from WHS.

Past Newsletters
April 2011
September 2011
March 2012
November 2012
June 2013
December 2013
September 2014