International Group B Strep Awareness Month – July, 2023
According to the CDC:
- In the United States, GBS bacteria are a leading cause of meningitis and bloodstream infections in a newborn’s first three months of life.
- About 1 in 4 pregnant women carries GBS bacteria in their body.
- Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria does not spread through food, water, or anything that people might have come into contact with. How people get these bacteria or spread them to others is generally unknown.
- However, experts know that pregnant women can pass the bacteria to their babies during delivery.
- The two best ways to prevent GBS disease during the first week of a newborn’s life are:
- Testing pregnant women for GBS bacteria
- Giving antibiotics, during labor, to women at increased risk
International Group B Strep Awareness Month
Oh, baby! July is Group B Strep International Awareness Month. A month used to promote the awareness and prevention of group B strep disease in babies during pregnancy through infancy.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS), or Streptococcus agalactiae, is a type of bacteria that is naturally found in the digestive and lower reproductive tracts of men and women. Approximately 1 in 4 pregnant women carry GBS. Unfortunately, these bacteria can be very dangerous to babies both before birth and up to 6 months of age due to their underdeveloped immune systems.
Not all babies exposed to GBS become infected, but for those who do, the results can be devastating. GBS can cause babies to be miscarried, stillborn, born prematurely, become very sick, have lifelong handicaps, or die. According to the CDC, GBS is the leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in newborns. Even babies born to mother who test negative can become infected by group B strep.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help protect babies from group B strep disease. First, pregnant women can be tested for GBS bacteria. Second, for women who are at an increased risk, they can be given antibiotics during labor.
Interested in learning more?
Join Group B International July 11th – 13th for GBS Community Days 2023. It is a time dedicated to sharing GBS information among parents, perinatal healthcare professionals, laboratorians, researchers, and other advocates committed to preventing GBS disease in babies.