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July: International Group B Strep (GBS) Awareness Month

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a bacterial infection that affects both adults and infants. It is an important issue that requires awareness and understanding to ensure the health and well-being of individuals.

Group B Strep Awareness aims to educate people about this infection, its risks, and preventive measures. By spreading awareness, we can work together to protect vulnerable individuals and prevent the spread of GBS. Group B Streptococcus is a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines, rectum, and vagina of healthy adults.

In most cases, GBS does not cause any harm or symptoms in adults. However, it can cause serious infections in newborns and, less commonly, in adults with weakened immune systems. The main concern surrounding GBS is its impact on newborns. If a pregnant individual carries GBS, there is a chance that the baby may become infected during childbirth. Newborn GBS infections can lead to conditions such as sepsis (blood infection), pneumonia (lung infection), and meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain). These infections can be life-threatening and have long-term effects on a child's health and development.

To reduce the risk of GBS transmission to newborns, it is crucial for pregnant individuals to undergo screening for GBS during their third trimester.

  • The screening involves a swab test, usually taken from the vagina and rectum, to detect the presence of GBS.

If a pregnant individual tests positive for GBS, preventive measures can be taken during labor and delivery to protect the baby.

  • Intravenous antibiotics, typically penicillin, are administered to the mother during labor if she tests positive for GBS or if her GBS status is unknown.

  • This antibiotic treatment significantly reduces the risk of transmitting the bacteria to the baby.

It is important for pregnant individuals to be aware of the need for GBS screening and to discuss their GBS status with their healthcare providers.

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