Dr Alison Bedford Russell described how clinical presentations of group B Strep were different between early-onset and late-onset. For example, group B Strep meningitis was more common in late-onset than early-onset GBS infection, while pneumonia was the reverse. Focal infection (infection in a particular area of the body) was “very,very rare” when it came to early-onset, and less rare for late-onset, for example, septic arthritis. Overall, generalised sepsis was the most common presentation.
Dr Bedford Russell highlighted some of the difficulties of identifying early-onset GBS infection and also spoke of an increase in newborns presenting with “hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy” also referred to as HIE, a type of brain damage.
The number of deaths as a result of group B Strep infection were higher the more immature and the lower the birth weight of the baby. Around 7% of survivors of group B Strep infection had some disability.
“So, group B Strep is a bacterium that causes neonatal infection and indeed it is the
commonest cause of neonatal infection in the UK. Broadly speaking, infection is divided into early onset in the first 6 days of life or late onset, which is after that and before 90 days of life.”