Hepatitis B is the most prevalent chronic virus infection worldwide, affecting over 300 million people. The disease is found globally, with the highest rates in Asia and Africa and lower rates in the Americas. Local conditions, however, may lead to a higher rate of infection in a particular region or institution.
Since the blood tests for hepatitis B are simple to perform, relatively inexpensive and available in most areas of the world, adoptive parents may, quite reasonably, ask that their prospective child be screened for this infection. Many parents are dismayed to discover, however, that such pre-adoptive screening may not answer their concerns.