Jason Salemi and colleagues report on maternal hepatitis status and neonatal outcomes

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Public health researcher Jason Salemi, MPH, is co-author on a publication entitled “Maternal hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection and neonatal neurological outcomes.” The study is in the March issue of the Journal of Viral Hepatitis.

Dr. Jason Salemi (1)

Mr. Salemi’s research interests focus on reproductive and perinatal epidemiology. From years of working with and engaging community partners, he is well versed in evaluating, validating, and analyzing myriad of maternal and child health surveillance systems and data sources. In 2008, he joined USF as a full-time epidemiology and statistical data analysis manager for the Colleges of Medicine and Public Health. His work primarily includes birth defects surveillance and research grants, a federally-funded R01 on comparative effectiveness research that served as the foundation for his dissertation, and a community-based participatory research grant from NIH to minimize health disparities in a socio-economically disadvantaged population. An active member of the public health community, Mr. Salemi has published (or has in-press) 29 peer-reviewed articles, co-wrote several funded grants, and has presented extensively at local, state, and national conferences. Most recently, Salemi passed his dissertation defense and graduates in May with a doctorate in epidemiology.

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Salemi JL, Whiteman VE, August EM, Chandler K, Mbah AK, Salihu HM. Maternal hepatitis B and hepatitis C infection and neonatal neurological outcomes. J Viral Hepat. 2014 Mar 26. doi: 10.1111/jvh.12250.


To examine the associations between maternal hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) infection status and selected infant neurological outcomes diagnosed at birth, we conducted a population-based, retrospective cohort study on singleton live births in Florida from 1998 to 2009. Primary exposures included maternal HBV and HCV monoinfection. The neurological outcomes included brachial plexus injury, cephalhematoma, foetal distress, feeding difficulties, intraventricular h aemorrhage and neonatal seizures. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to generate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) that were adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics, risky behaviours, pregnancy complications and pre-existing medical conditions, and timing of delivery. The risk of an adverse neurological outcome was higher in infants born to mothers with hepatitis viral infection (7.2% for HCV, 5.0% for HBV), compared with infants of hepatitis virus-free mothers (4.2%). After adjusting for potential confounders, women with HBV were twice as likely to have infants who suffered from brachial plexus injury (OR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.15-3.60), while those with HCV had an elevated odds of having an infant with feeding difficulties (OR: 1.32, 95% CI = 1.06-1.64) and a borderline increased likelihood for neonatal seizures (OR = 1.74, 95% CI = 0.98-3.10). Additionally, HCV+ mothers had a 22% increased odds of having an infant with some type of adverse neurological outcome (OR: 1.22, 95% CI = 1.03-1.44). Our findings add to current understanding of the association between maternal HBV/HCV infections and infant neurological outcomes. Further research evaluating the role of maternal HBV and HCV infections (including viraemia, treatment) on pregnancy outcomes is warranted.

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