Area’s health care providers bring Hep B vaccine to children earlier

Collaboration among nurseries provides universal protection for Rochester babies

September 12, 2005

All children born in Rochester-area nurseries will receive their first hepatitis B vaccination within 12 hours of birth, thanks to a collaborative effort among area hospitals and community pediatricians.

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by an infection transmittable by bodily fluids. The infection can be short or long term. A chronic infection increases the risk of serious liver diseases such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be vaccinated for the communicable liver-destroying virus before leaving the hospital. That vaccine will be administered within the first day of life at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, Rochester General Hospital, Highland Hospital and Park Ridge Hospital. Transmission of Hepatitis B is not common among infants born in Rochester, but this initiative aims to prevent any transmissions.

“A letter has been sent to all community pediatricians, obstetricians and family physicians to let them know and to provide them with additional information about the new initiative,” said Ronnie Guillet, MD, PhD., director of the neonatology fellowship program at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong. “This is another example of cross-community collaboration for the children of our community – regardless of health system, physician, or hospital used.”

Representatives from the area’s nurseries meet at least once a year to discuss and implement new initiatives. In the past few years, the group has discussed prevention and treatment of Group B strep in the neonatal period.

The collaboration is especially important for pediatricians treating patients born in different area hospitals. Following uniform guidelines makes caring for children simpler and less confusing, ultimately improving their care.

“It’s important to make sure that we aren’t duplicating any vaccinations or confusing any of our primary care physicians in town,” said Cynthia Howard, MD, pediatric director of the Mother-Baby Unit at Rochester General Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Rochester. “And parents will know that no matter where they deliver, their children will have consistent care.”

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Heather Hare
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