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Study finds Group B Strep infections linked to 147K stillbirths

An estimated 21 million pregnant women carry the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria. This translates to one in every five pregnant women. Without treatment, this bacterium can result in serious injury, including stillbirth. This piece will provide some information on this dangerous infection and explore the findings of the study.

What is GBS? GBS is one of many types of bacteria that commonly live within the body. Although it does not often cause illness, it can cause an infection in an infant during birth. Because infants do not have a fully developed immune system, they are at an increased risk of developing a serious infection when exposed to this bacterium. 

What was the purpose of the study? The study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, dug into the prevalence of GBS on a global scale. Researchers found the United States had some of the highest numbers of GBS in the world - ranking fourth just behind India, China and Nigeria.

How can we reduce the risk of infant death? GBS testing can lead to treatment and reduce the risk of infection. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains that the testing process involves taking a culture from the mother between weeks 35 and 37 of pregnancy. A physician will prescribe treatment if the culture results in a positive GBS test. Treatment often involves the use of antibiotics during labor.

When administered wisely, the antibiotics remove the bacteria. This results in a reduction in the risk of stillbirths and other complications related to exposure to GBS.

A physician or other medical professional that fails to properly identify and treat GBS can be held accountable. If you or someone you love has fallen victim to a Group B Strep infection that resulted in stillbirth, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help answer your questions and discuss your options. 

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