Thursday, June 25, 2009
Why all pregnant women need to be tested for Group B streptococci (GBS)
The group B streptococcus (GBS) bacteria is usually harmless in healthy adults, but it can cause a relatively rare but very serious infection in newborns. (Group B is different from group A strep, the bacteria that causes strep throat.)Between 10 and 30 percent of pregnant women carry GBS bacteria in the vagina or rectal area, where they may pass it to their babies during labor or birth. With proper prenatal testing and treatment during labor, though, the risk is small.Without treatment, one or two out of every 200 babies born to "GBS positive" mothers would become infected with the bacteria and develop what's called early-onset GBS disease. The consequences can be very serious.
Posted by Delia Milholland