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Maternal neighbourhood-level social determinants of health and their association with paediatric hepatitis C screening among children exposed to hepatitis C in pregnancy


Background — Current guidelines recommend HCV screening by 18 months of age for those exposed to HCV in utero; yet, screening occurs in the minority of children.

Objectives — To evaluate the association between maternal neighbourhood-level social determinants of health (SDOH) and paediatric HCV screening in the general population in a publicly funded healthcare system in Canada.

Methods — Retrospective cohort study using administrative healthcare data held at ICES. Children born to individuals positive for HCV RNA in pregnancy from 2000 to 2016 were identified and followed for 2 years. Major SDOH were identified, and the primary outcome was HCV screening in exposed children (HCV antibody and/or RNA). Associations between SDOH and HCV screening were determined using multivariate Poisson regression models adjusting for confounding.

Results — A total of 1780 children born to persons with +HCV RNA were identified, and 29% (n = 516) were screened for HCV by age two. Most mothers resided in the lowest income quintile (42%), and most vulnerable quintiles for material deprivation (41%), housing instability (38%) and ethnic diversity (26%) with 11% living in rural locations. After adjustment for confounding, maternal rural residence (risk ratio [RR] 0.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.62, 1.07) and living in the highest dependency quintile (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.65, 1.07) were the SDOH most associated with paediatric HCV screening. Younger maternal age (RR 0.98 per 1-year increase, 95% CI 0.97, 0.99), HIV co-infection (RR 1.69, 95% CI 1.16, 2.48) and GI specialist involvement (RR 1.18, 95% CI 1.00, 1.39) were associated with higher probabilities of screening.

Conclusions — Among children exposed to HCV during pregnancy, rural residences and living in highly dependent neighbourhoods showed a potential association with a lower probability of HCV screening by the age of 2. Future work evaluating barriers to paediatric HCV screening among rural residing and dependent residents is needed to enhance the screening.



Foley MK, Djerboua M, Kushner T, Biondi MJ, Feld JJ, Terrault NA, Flemming JA. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2024; Jan 26 [Epub ahead of print].

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