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Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Is the Most Common Cause of Bacterial Meningitis in Newborns.

A seven year French study showed that Group B strep (GBS) is still the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in newborns. This was the largest ever study of newborn bacterial meningitis that included 444 infants who were diagnosed with bacterial meningitis during the first month of life.

Meningitis due to GBS accounted for 60 percent of the newborns with bacterial meningitis. Escherichia Coli (E. coli), an intestinal bacterium, was the cause of 30 percent of newborns’ meningitis. The exception was in premature infants, who were more likely to be infected with E. coli rather than GBS. Sadly, approximately 13 percent of the newborns in the study who were infected during birth and develop meningitis, died. For preterm or small for gestational age infants, the mortality rate was 25 percent.

Group B strep is a harmless bacterium that can reside in a woman’s vagina or rectum. In the US, approximately 25% of women are carriers of GBS and have no symptoms at all. GBS is not a sexually transmitted disease. However, if this harmless infection is not treated with antibiotics before a mother gives birth, the Group B strep can be passed on to the baby and cause pneumonia, sepsis, overwhelming infection, meningitis or death. Newborns who survive meningitis or sepsis may be left with permanent brain damage, developmental delays, deafness, blindness or cerebral palsy.

Here at the Philadelphia Beasley birth injury law firm, we have been award numerous million and multi-million awards and settlements on behalf of birth injured newborns and babies infected with GBS during delivery. Our experienced lawyers, doctors, prenatal nurses, labor and delivery nurses and neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurses are here to help you if your baby was injured during birth or developed an infection in the newborn period. Please feel free to contact us for a strictly confidential and free consultation.

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