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Group B strep infection in pregnancy can cause damage, newborn death – experts

Posted by on November 13, 2021 0


Health experts have called for routine screening of pregnant women for group B streptococcus infection, noting that this will help to reduce infant mortality.

According to the experts, the health condition can cause multisystemic damage to the baby in the womb, as well as death of newborn, when not diagnosed and properly treated.

The experts also called for new vaccines for the infection, stressing that it is becoming increasingly imperative to vaccinate women against the condition because of its dangers to babies in the womb.

Group B streptococcus is a common bacterium that can live in the intestine, the rectum, or a woman’s vagina. It does not usually cause problems in healthy adults but causes sickness in new-borns exposed to it during birth.

Recall that the World Health Organisation in a recent report called for vaccines against group B streptococcus infection, a common bacterium, in pregnant women.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, a professor of fetomaternal medicine, BabaganaBako, said vaccinating women against the condition will help to curb infant mortality and eradicate long-term disabilities suffered by new-born babies.

He noted that infant mortality occurring as a result of group B streptococcus infection has been long underestimated.

Bako, who is also a consultant gynaecologist and obstetriciansaid group B streptococcus infection is a common infection that does not cause any harm to an adult but is very deadly to a new-born child.


He revealed that the infection is contracted by the mother through diverse ways.

“It can be sexually transmitted, just like any other infection.Women can also get it without them knowing and most of the time it can be through poor hygiene and sometimes you can’t even find a specific cause because it can be harboured on the skin.

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“Most often the women will not know that they even have the infection because even if it’s there, it is not likely to cause a serious infection for the mother.”

Explaining how this infection is transmitted to the new-born, Bako said the bacteria infection, also found in the genital tract of the mother, can in the process of delivery be passed on to the infant, especially when the woman’s water ruptures and it takes time for her to be delivered of the baby.

Bako noted that the infection can cause multisystemic damage in the new-born baby, describing GBS as an overwhelming infection in babies.

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