Group B strep, or “baby strep,” is the leading cause of death among newborns in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 25 percent of American women are carriers of the bacteria and will go through life without showing any symptoms of illness. But when it comes to delivering a healthy baby, it is important for pregnant women to know whether they have the disease.
Simple tests are able to detect GBS in pregnant women, and antibiotic treatments can be incorporated into the labor plan to minimize the dangers that GBS presents to the fetus. However, failure to detect the disease can lead to deadly infections during the first week of life, including meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis.
If your baby was injured or died from Group B strep, it’s possible that medical practitioners did not take the necessary steps to protect your baby from the disease. The medical malpractice attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling cases involving devastating birth injuries, including Group B strep, and are dedicated to helping families receive compensation when they have been wronged by a healthcare provider.
Group B Strep and Your Baby
About 1 in 4 women carry the Group B strep bacteria, which are found in the vagina and/or rectum. Detection is simple and involves a simple swab test of the vaginal and anal area, which the CDC recommends having done at 35-37 weeks. Pregnant women who test positive for GBS and receive antibiotics during labor have only a 1 in 4,000 chance of passing the disease on to their newborn, as opposed to a 1 in 200 chance if they do not.
There are two types of Group B strep:
- Early onset: Occurs during the first week of life and most commonly causes sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis. There are 1,200 new cases of early-onset GBS in the U.S. each year.
- Late onset: Emerges anywhere from 7 days to 3 months after birth. Meningitis more frequently occurs in late-onset GBS cases.
If a woman tests GBS-positive, the CDC advises medical providers to prescribe a course of antibiotics to be taken approximately four hours before delivery and throughout the entire delivery. That kills the colonized bacteria temporarily, reducing the risk of infection to the newborn.
However, if treatment is delayed, the results can be devastating. Aside from meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, other signs of a GBS infection include:
- Breathing problems
- Heart rate and blood pressure instability
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Kidney problems
- Difficulty feeding
- Blue color on skin
The CDC issued model guidelines for the prevention of GBS in 2002 and a revised version in 2010, which continues to recommend universal screenings for all pregnant women and the use of antibiotics to lessen lasting damage to the newborn, such as deafness and developmental disabilities.
Are You A Victim of Negligence? Call Our Michigan Birth Injury Lawyers Now
Michigan Injury Lawyers is a full service law firm with a team of knowledgeable personal injury attorneys who are committed to obtaining the best possible financial results for our clients. Our medical malpractice lawyers have extensive experience in medical malpractice claims.
If your baby suffered a permanent birth injury or died as a result of Group B strep, the dedicated birth injury attorneys at Michigan Injury Lawyers can review your case and advise you of your legal options.
Based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Injury Lawyers can help victims obtain compensation for their birth-related injuries. Call us at 313-438-4357, or fill out our online contact form for a free evaluation of your claim.