The month of July is Streptococcus group B awareness in El Paso, Texas and internationally, for all women who are pregnant. Many women have no symptoms whatsoever, that they are carriers of a deadly bacterium, group B strep (GBS).
Group B strep can cause bladder and, or womb infections during labor or delivery, while pregnant. 25% of women carry the organism without any symptoms. This does not mean that they have the disease, but that they are carriers of it, and thereby, at higher risk for giving their baby group B strep infection while giving birth.
Healthy women carry strep group B, in their rectum or vagina. One out of four women in the United States are carriers of the organism. Ethnicity has no boundaries for this organism. Being a carrier does not mean that you have an active infection due to group B strep.
GBS can be transmitted to the baby during birth, and can cause serious, if not fatal disease. The organism can cause pneumonia (lung), sepsis (blood), meningitis (lining of brain and spinal cord) infections in newborns.
Infections in newborns with group B strep can be prevented. Have yourself tested for the organism:
- If your 35 to 37 weeks pregnant, ask your physician for a GBS test
- If your positive for Streptococcus group B, talk with your physician about a plan for labor
- Continue your checkups as usual, and consult your doctor or nurse if problems arise
- Alert physician or nurse about allergies to penicillin or any other medications
- Inform physician or nurse if you do not know your GBS status before giving birth
In El Paso, Texas for more information on group B strep (GBS) contact, the El Paso City Health & Environmental District, located at 5115 El Paso Drive, 79905 (915) 771-5702.
Other cities or towns, contact your local health department, or your health provider.
FOR MORE INFO: Visit Centers for Disease Control.