July has been Group B Streptococcus Awareness Month

Expectant moms should beware of the silent, dangerous bacteria

Most of us hear about Strep Throat, which is caused by bacteria in the group A Streptococcus family. But the lesser-known group B Streptococcus can become a silent invader and dangerous, especially to newborns. About 25 percent or 1 in 4 pregnant women in the U.S. unknowingly carry this naturally occurring bacteria with no symptoms. If left undetected, it can be passed on during labor, putting a  newborn at risk for life-threatening illnesses including pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. Babies can be affected in the womb and up to six months of age due to their underdeveloped immune systems. Group B bacteria commonly live in people’s gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Most of the time the bacteria are not harmful and do not make people feel sick. However sometimes the bacteria invade the body and cause certain infections known as GBS disease. Anyone can get GBS but it is most common in newborns.

“Women should talk with their doctor to learn more and find out if they may be at risk,” Jamie Lee, Director of Women’s Services at NMC said. “A test can be performed to determine if a woman carries GBS and if positive, antibiotics can be prescribed to help prevent the bacteria from being passed to the baby during delivery.”

How people get these bacteria or spread them to others is not known but it does not spread through food or water, and it is not sexually transmitted. Experts do know that pregnant women can pass the bacteria to their babies during delivery. Most babies who get GBS disease are exposed to the bacteria this way.

Babies infected with GBS may have symptoms ranging from difficulty breathing, problems with temperature, difficulty breast feeding, more spitting up than usual or extreme sleeplessness. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat babies with GBS.  (Source: Sepsis Alliance, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American College of Nurse Midwives)

About Nacogdoches Medical Center

Nacogdoches Medical Center is a 161-bed acute care facility located at 4920 NE Stallings Drive in Nacogdoches, TX. The hospital serves as the anchor of NMC Health Network and has provided for the medical and health care needs of East Texans for more than 40 years. Designed to improve access to healthcare services in Nacogdoches and Shelby counties and the surrounding communities, NMC specializes in emergency services, women’s health, cardiovascular medicine and surgery, open heart surgery, cancer care, orthopedics, neurology and neurosurgery. Extensions of the network include NMC Imaging Services, the Ambulatory Surgery Center of Nacogdoches, NMC Wound Care Services, NMC Loma Laird Cancer Center and NMC Shelby Emergency Services. NMC is recognized by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the nation’s oldest and largest hospital accreditation agency. To learn more about the facilities that comprise NMC Health Network, please visit http://www.nacmedicalcenter.com.

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Center TX 75935