How dangerous is GBS bacterium?

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is kind of bacterial infection that occurs in a pregnant woman’s vagina or rectum. This bacterium is present in the vagina or lower intestine of many a healthy woman. Such women who are found to be infected with the bacteria are said to be colonized. A pregnant mother is likely to transmit the microbe to her baby during delivery. According to statistics, one in every two thousand American kids is affected by GBS. But not all GBS affected babies fall ill. However, as part of regular prenatal checkups, gynaecologists test for GBS. This is because; if it remains unnoticed the outcome can be fatal.

The GBS screening test is performed mostly between the 35th and 37th week of pregnancy. An early test will not provide a true picture of the situation. A swab of both the rectum and the vagina is involved in testing. The result of test will be obtained within forty eight hours.

Group B strep colonization is not a disease that is sexually transmitted. A woman who lives with these bacteria in her lower abdominal tract does not show any symptom at all. Even when she is tested positive, it simply means she is a carrier. In certain cases, the bacteria might cause bladder and womb infections to the mother. But, it is likely that the baby delivered by her might show symptoms of GBS disease such as rupture of membrane before the completion of the gestation period, fever during labour etc. Respiratory, gastrointestinal and coronary problems are also likely in some cases. More severe outcomes of the GBS disease are pneumonia and meningitis. If not treated properly, GBS can even result in stillbirth.
If your elder baby was infected, then you should certainly mention this to your doctor well in advance, as preventive measures can be taken. It is found that taking antibiotics can decrease the risk of the child falling ill.

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