July is Group B Strep Awareness Month and charity Group B Strep Support is asking everyone to raise awareness during the month, using the hashtag #GBSAM18.
Group B Strep is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies in the UK, and the most common cause of meningitis in babies under age 3 months. And the number of these infections are rising. Currently:
- 2 babies a day develop group B Strep infection
- 1 baby a week dies from group B Strep infection
- 1 baby a week recovers from group B Strep infection with disability
319,000 babies are estimated to have developed GBS infection aged 0-90 days worldwide in 2015, with approximately 4.1 infections in every 1,000 liveborn babies in their first 6 days of life. Shockingly, in the UK, it’s 5.7 in every 1,000 – which is 40% higher than the worldwide rate, and 2.5 times higher than the US rate (2.2 cases in every 1,000 babies). Between 2000 and 2014 there has been an increase of more than 50% in babies developing group B Strep infection in the UK and Republic of Ireland. And, while fewer babies died from their group B Strep infection, more survivors had disability.
For #GBSAM18, we want to raise awareness of the new group B Strep information leaflet and make sure every single pregnant woman in the UK receives a copy.
Jane Plumb MBE, GBSS Chief Executive, says:
“Knowing about group B Strep when you’re pregnant and in the early weeks after birth can make a massive difference – most group B Strep infections in newborn babies can be prevented, and early treatment can and does save lives.”
Identifying which babies are at raised risk of developing group B Strep infection and giving their Mums targeted intravenous antibiotics in labour, tiny lives will be saved. There is also no doubt that early treatment of babies who develop group B Strep infection results in better outcomes for those babies, so knowing the signs to watch for – and act upon – is vital.
This Group B Strep Awareness Month, tell everyone about group B Strep, using the hashtags #GBSAM18 and #groupBStrep.