The Way Newborns Might Get Meningitis Due to Group B Strep

Per the CDC, Group B Strep is the most frequent source of sepsis and meningitis (a dangerous illness of the fluid of the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the brain) in babies. Group B Strep is a bacterial infection that may affect a baby if the mother is a carrier and passes it to her child during childbirth.

The bacteria usually takes hold in the vagina and/or the lower intestine. It is found in about 1 out of every 4 adult women. However, it often does not produce an active infection or result in symptoms. Transmission from expecting mother to the infant generally transpires during labor and delivery. The child could be exposed to group b strep, such as, if the bacteria moves up from the mother’s vagina into the uterus after the membranes (bag of water) break. The newborn might also be exposed to GBS while passing down through the birth canal. In this period, the newborn can swallow or breathe in the bacteria.

Approximately 75% of cases of GBS in babies take place in the course of the first week after birth, and the majority appear within a number of hours after birth. This is called “early onset” disease. The rest present with a GBS infection from one week to several months after birth. This is known as as “late onset.” In general, roughly 50% of instances of late onset can be related to the infant’s mother having had the bacteria. In the other situations of late onset, the source of the infection is unidentified.

After the infant is exposed to the bacteria, it can enter the baby’s bloodstream. This may bring about sepsis (overwhelming infection throughout the body), pneumonia, or meningitis. These are all dangerous conditions that may advance rapidly and leave the newborn with long term disabilities or might result in the baby’s death. Various familiar possible disabilities are: brain damage, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, and seizures.

Common symptoms of meningitis include: a high temperature, lethargy, unusual irritability, trouble feeding, stiffness, vomiting, and rashes. Since the infection can progress rapidly prompt treatment is essential to avoid severe harm to the child. For bacterial based meningitis (such as that caused by Group B Strep), treatment requires the speedy administration of intravenous IV and antibiotics. A diagnosis of meningitis is established by removing a sample of spinal fluid from a spinal tap and culturing the bacteria for accurate classification. This is important so as to identify the correct antibiotic for use. The outcome of the test might take a few hours. In the time it takes for the results, the infection may result in lasting harm or kill the baby. Because of the immediacy required, treatment commonly commences ahead of a verified diagnosis if meningitis is a possible explanation for the baby’s symptoms. Penicillin is the most widely administered treatment.

If a newborn passed away or suffers from lasting disabilities that were avoidable aside from the failure on the part of a physician to diagnose GBS meningitis or to give immediate treatment that physician might be liable for malpractice. The mothers and fathers of children thus injured by GBS meningitis ought to contact a birth injury lawyer without delay because the law allows only a limited amount of time to pursue a birth injury case.