Group B Streptococcus
Group B streptococcus, is also known as group B strep medically. This is a bacteria that brings life-threatening infections in infants. Group B Streptococcus also strikes pregnant women, elderly people, and adults with a weak immune system. This can cause serious illnesses such as bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and pneumonia. It is also a cause of diabetes, especially to people with health issues.
Symptoms of Strep B
According to some studies, Group B streptococcus (GBS) is found in ten to thirty precent of pregnant women. Most pregnant women who have the bacteria show no symptoms of GBS nor do they exhibit any health problems; however, a few may develop some infection such as urinary tract infection. The most severe consequence of group B strep is when a woman late in her pregnancy and her internal organ is colonized by GBS bacteria. When this occurs, the bacteria will be passed on to her baby and this will cause life-threatening infections to the child.
Effects on newborn
There are two types of Strep B infections in newborns. Both types of infections can lead to serious diseases which can cause death to newborn babies.
The first type is called Early-onset infection. Early-onset infections transpire during the first week of life, commonly within the first twenty four to forty eight hours after the baby is born. These types of infections can happen as the baby moves through the birth canal of the mother who has GBS. Group B Streptococcus usually causes sepsis which is an infection of the blood. It could also cause pneumonia, an infection in the lungs, and other times, meningitis which is an infection of the fluid and lining of the infant’s brain.
The second type of GBS is called late-onset infections. Late-onset infections transpire in the first six days after the baby is born. Late-onset infections may be passed from the mother to the baby during delivery or they may be caused by people, who are colonized by GBS, whom they came in contact with when. Meningitis is generally more common with late-onset GBS than early-onset infections.
If an infant has been infected with GBS and the parent wasn’t aware of it, over the short term period the infant will suffer other problems such as sepsis, pneumonia, shock and meningitis.
Over longer period, the infant might suffer hearing loss, neurological problems, vision loss, mental retardation, lung damage, cerebral palsy or physical problems.
Strep B Treatment
To aid the prevention of early-onset infections or other complications of GBS such as stillbirths and premature births, pregnant women are tested for GBS during the latter part of their pregnancy, usually between weeks 35 and 37. The gynaecologist will take a sample from the woman’s vagina and rectum and sends the sample to the laboratory where it will be grown in a culture. The test will determine whether or not GBS bacteria are present. This procedure may take up to two to three days.
If results show that you are GBS-positive, you’ll begin taking antibiotics as soon as your labour starts or sometimes, 4 hours before you give birth. Antibiotics help eliminate some of the bacteria that can harm the infant during birth. This should be taken only when a woman is in labour or as soon as her water breaks. If the treatment is given earlier in the pregnancy, there is a chance that the bacteria may regrow, affecting and risking the baby’s welfare.