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Group B Streptococcus – Raising Awareness to Save Young Lives

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 01/07/2014

July is International Group B Streptococcus awareness month. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a naturally occurring bacterium found in both men and women, usually without symptoms. In most cases, it is harmless, but in some women, it can adversely affect you and your baby. In most cases involving newborn babies, it is preventable or can be treated successfully with antibiotics. But when left, 90% of babies born with early onset GBS can die following deliveries where risk factors have not been tackled.

Am I At Risk?

Raising awareness for this infection throughout this month could help to save babies’ lives. You can follow the online campaign on twitter under the hashtag #GBSaware. Whether it's your first or subsequent pregnancy, GBS may be present and can affect you or your baby before, during or after your pregnancy.

You and your child may be at risk if you:

  • Have previously given birth to a baby infected with GBS
  • Are carrying GBS during your pregnancy or it was found in your urine sample
  • Have gone into premature labour
  • Were in labour for 18 hours or more after your waters broke

The reason you may have gone into premature labour, had complications or a miscarriage or delivered a stillborn baby may be down to a GBS disease that might have been missed by your medical team.

If the bacterium has already crossed to your baby, there are some signs and symptoms your doctors should be looking out for. Undiagnosed and untreated GBS diseases can lead to meningitis, sepsis, pneumonia, cerebral palsy, severe learning difficulties or even death.

What are the Symptoms?

Breathing problems, being floppy and unresponsive, poor feeding and fitting or irritability are all signs that your baby has been infected with GBS. The disease can be split into 2 stages: early onset and late onset. Early onset can happen within 24 hours and up to 7 days of birth. Late onset symptoms may not develop until after 7 days from birth all the way up to 3 months.

Failure to diagnose, treat, or a delay in specialist treatment can lead to devastating consequences. We can not only help investigate a possible medical negligence claim, but if your child has suffered, we can also give you advice on how to best support them if their disability is affecting their education.

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