Every year approximately 7,600 cases of neonatal group B streptococcal (“GBS”) infections occur in newborns in the United States. A fetus who is exposed to GBS organisms in utero and develops early-onset infection may suffer from serious complications which include brain damage, pneumonia, meningitis, and a chronic lung disease known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia. GBS is the leading bacterial organism responsible for causing the death of newborns who develop early-onset infection. Most newborns who develop early-onset GBS infection are born to mothers who have GBS bacteria in the vaginal rectal areas at or around the time of labor an delivery. Even though between 10-30% of pregnant women are colonized with GBS bacteria, most of them have no symptoms and do not know that they are colonized. A pregnant woman should have a doctor perform cultural samples for distal vagina and anorectum. It should be noted that not all infants exposed to the GBS bacteria will become infected. However, because GBS can produce severe consequences, including death and irreversible brain damage it is necessary that pregnant women check for the bacteria. To read the full story, click here.