Hepatitis C and Children
Why is it important to know if a child is at risk for hepatitis C?
About 6% of mothers with the hepatitis C virus will pass it to their baby. Most children with hepatitis C do not show any symptoms and therefore may not be identified. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can lead to severe liver damage.
Should children be tested for Hepatitis C?
The CDC currently recommends that children born to hepatitis C positive mothers be tested for the virus. If the mother’s hepatitis C status is unknown, testing should be discussed with the child’s pediatrician. Testing for the hepatitis C antibody is recommended after 18 months. There is also an option to test for hepatitis C RNA in the first year of life.
Is there treatment for children with hepatitis C?
Curative treatment is available for children ages 3 years and older. The treatment is a prescription oral medication. Children with hepatitis C may also be referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist or infectious disease specialist.
What if I have additional questions?
Consult with your child’s pediatrician to discuss screening and follow up care.