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, and this bacteria. Unfortunately, this 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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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.
To learn more about group B strep, the signs and symptoms of GBS, and how to protect your baby, visit www.groupbstrepinternational.org