Group B strep is difficult to eradicate, causing many women to be populated with the organism during pregnancy and labor, thereby infecting their infant. For more than 10 years, prevention strategies have been published – but unfortunately -- without successful implementation. Although optimal prevention management has not been defined, two strategies recommended by the CDC can prevent the majority of group B stress infections in newborns.
Routine screening for group B strep (GBS) late in pregnancy is the most effective way to prevent transmission of the bacteria from mother to child during delivery.
The data were published in the July 25, 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Guidelines issued in 1996 to prevent transmission of the bacteria from mother to newborn recommend that health care providers use one of two methods. The new data shows that the prenatal screening method was more than 50 percent more effective in preventing transmission than the clinical risk factor method.
Many people carry group B strep in their bodies but do not become ill. These people are considered to be carriers. Adults can carry group B strep in the bowel, vagina, bladder, or throat. One of every four or five pregnant women carries group B strep in the rectum or vagina. A fetus may come in contact with group B stress before or during birth if the mother carries group B strep in the rectum or vagina. People who carry group B strep (GBS) typically do so temporarily -- that is, they do not become lifelong carriers of the bacteria.
Group B strep disease remains a leading infectious cause of illness and death among newborns in the United States, resulting in approximately 1,600 illnesses and 80 deaths each year.
Susceptibility factors to Group B Strep
- Maternal age is less than 20 years old
- Developed chorioamnionitis (infection of membranes/placental tissues)
- Sustained intrapartum fetal tachycardia (accelerated heart rhythm)
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Previous infant with GBS sepsis
- GBS bacteria during current pregnancy
- Heavy GBS carrier
For early onset symptoms develop within 48 hours of birth. Fifty percent develop group B strep at birth the rest by 12 hours of age. Transmission is from aspiration of amniotic fluid seeded with group B strep ascended from birth canal; aspiration of maternal genital secretions from the birth process; and invasion of group B strep through amniotic membranes via micro tears in the membrane.
Late onset occurs within 7 to 90 days of life with a mortality rate of 2 to 6 percent. Late onset is transmitted through maternal genital secretions, healthcare providers, and newborns infected due to poor hand washing.
Group B strep is associated with cases of meningitis and causes mental retardation, blindness, deafness, seizures, speech delay, language delay and – death.
Does your baby suffer from the preventable disease of group b strep? Has your baby died from group B strep? Contact Anapol Schwartz law firm to determine if you have a medical malpractice lawsuit.