Group B Strep is the most common cause of severe infection in newborn babies and can cause sepsis (a life-threatening reaction to an infection), pneumonia (lung infection) and meningitis (inflammation of the fluid and linings of the brain).
Group B Strep infection occurs most often in babies shortly before, during or immediately after birth. After the first 6 days of life, group B Strep infection is uncommon and after age 3 months it is very rare indeed. GBS infection is considered a medical emergency and needs to be treated immediately by healthcare professionals.
Approximately one in every 1,000 babies born each year in the UK develops group B Strep infection.
Most babies will make a full recovery from their group B Strep infection. Sadly, approximately one in every 16 babies who develop group B Strep infection during their first 3 months die, and around one in every 10 of the survivors have a long-term disability.
Having a baby who develops group B Strep infection is unexpected and traumatic. Your baby’s group B Strep infection is not your fault . When a baby develops a group B Strep infection, particularly newborns, sometimes mothers are told ‘you passed it to your baby’. This can make mums feel responsible, as though it is their fault. This is NOT the case.
If your baby has been affected by group B Strep, it is natural to have questions and to want a better understanding of what has happened. Families are often unsure of what to expect after meningitis and sepsis.
After effects of meningitis
After effects of sepsis
Understanding what happened
With prompt treatment, most babies will make a full recovery from their group B Strep infection. However, sadly, even with the best medical care, approximately one in 16 of these sick babies will die, and one in 10 of the survivors will have life long physical or neurological after-effects.
Making a complaint or taking legal action
A future pregnancy
You may also find our leaflet, After your baby’s group B Strep infection, helpful.