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Adoption : Skills of voluntary adoption agencies should be exploited

BMJ Group
Publication Date
  • Letters
  • Medicine


Hepatitis B and A Vaccines are Imperative for Families Adopting from Abroad Adopting a child from abroad? • Family members should get vaccinated before the child arrives. • All children from abroad should be tested for hepatitis B soon after U.S. arrival. Immunization Action Coalition • 1573 Selby Avenue, Suite #234 • St. Paul, MN 55104 • (651) 647-9009 • By Dr. Jane Aronson • Item #P4153 (4/13) Hepatitis B and A Vaccines Are Imperative for Families Adopting from Abroad Hepatitis B Vaccination for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection should be considered essential for families contemplating intercountry adop- tion. While the risk of an adopted child from abroad being chronically infected with HBV varies from country to country, concerns over the possibility of transmission to others can be alleviated if family members seek the readily available hepatitis B vaccination series before the child arrives. Recently, I was the consulting pediatrician for two families whose adopted children from abroad had been diagnosed with chronic HBV infection after arrival in the U.S. Their stories were typical of families contacting adoption medicine specialists across the country. One child was a 14-month-old boy from China, and the other was a one-year-old girl from Russia. The boy had actually been in the U.S. for seven months before he was tested for HBV infection. His mother told me that the pediatrician felt that the child did not need to be tested because he looked healthy. The mother and father had not been vaccinated against hepatitis B. The mother of the little girl from Russia con- tacted me because she had just been told by the pediatrician that the child was chronically infected with HBV. She was anxious about her child’s health, but she was also quite disturbed about her risk and her family’s risk for contracting HBV infection. No one in the family had been vaccinated. I discusse

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