International Group B Strep Awareness Month is observed throughout July to raise awareness among healthcare providers, parents and future parents, and anyone involved in perinatal research about Group B Strep (GBS). GBS is a type of bacteria that naturally exists in the gut and lower reproductive tracts of both men and women. However, if found in babies and infants, GBS leads to sepsis and meningitis. It is actually one of the most serious infections that causes newborn illness and death worldwide. Approximately one in four pregnant women carry GBS! Studies show that babies can be infected by GBS before birth and up to about six months of age due to their poorly developed immune systems.
History of International Group B Strep Awareness Month
Strep bacteria can be classified as Group A Streptococcus and Group B Streptococcus. GBS exists harmlessly in the gastrointestinal and genital tracts of adults but it can be dangerous when it infects newborns. It may lead to serious illnesses like bacteremia and sepsis, bone and joint infections, meningitis, and pneumonia.
In the United States, GBS is a serious menace. It is the most common cause of neonatal sepsis, meningitis, and other infections. Pregnant women are screened for it during the third trimester. GBS can move from the lower GI tract and vaginal canal toward the cervix and the uterus to affect gestational tissues. Then it may invade the amniotic sac and cause inflammation of the placenta. This can not only induce preterm delivery and stillbirth but also cause damage and injury to fetal organs.
If detected in time, GBS infections can be prevented. Doctors prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to pregnant women to prevent any severe damage to the fetus. But unfortunately, this treatment also has several side effects. Perinatal antibiotic exposure may hinder the development of a healthy microbiome and weaken the infant’s immune system. Although prophylactic antibiotic use may prevent dangerous outcomes from GBS, it also makes the body more susceptible to the other forms of Streptococcus. GBS infection can also be prevented by various immune responses in the vaginal and intestinal epithelium and mucosa. A healthy immune response is vital to a baby so it’s important to look for treatments that do not disrupt their natural immunity.
International Group B Strep Awareness Month timeline
Austrian surgeon Theodor Billroth discovers streptococcal infection.
GBS is recognized as a pathogen in cattle by Edmond Nocard and Mollereau.
Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. This leads to the introduction of antibiotics.
Stem cell therapy is successfully instigated by Edward Donnall Thomas.
International Group B Strep Awareness Month FAQs
What week is the Group B Strep Test?
A group B strep test is generally done between weeks 36 and 37 of pregnancy.
Is Group B Strep considered high risk?
Anyone can get (GBS) disease, but being a certain age or having certain medical conditions can put you at increased risk for GBS disease.
Is Strep B an STD?
Group B Strep is not a sexually transmitted disease.
How to Observe International Group B Strep Awareness Month
Raise awareness on the issue
You can volunteer to raise awareness and spread information among your family, friends, and coworkers about GBS and its effects on babies and infants.
Share your story
If you or anyone you know has struggled with GBS, encourage them to share their stories. This creates a support group and a pool of resources to help fight the disease.
You can also organize fundraising drives for GBS awareness. Donate the money to hospitals, research centers, and families who are struggling to foot medical bills.
5 Facts About Babies That Are Good To Know
Babies pee a lot
A baby might pee up to once every 20 minutes.
Most babies are born mid-week.
Numbers show that most babies are born on a Wednesday.
Babies aren’t eco-friendly!
A baby will use up to 2,700 nappies in a year.
Babies love cereal
On average, a baby consumes 15 pounds of cereals every year.
Babies have more bones than adults
An adult has 206 bones while a baby has 300.
Why International Group B Strep Awareness Month is Important
The month does an important job of raising awareness about an illness that affects millions of babies and infants every year.
Promotes scientific temper.
The month also encourages us to trust medicine and healthcare, and the progress it has made through the years. Timely treatment of GBS can save lives.
It forms kinship.
Survivors and patients come together during International Group B Strep Awareness month to share resources and help each other through tough times.
International Group B Strep Awareness Month dates