The most common cause of a life-threatening infection in newborns is preventable, but many pregnant women have never heard of it. Group B streptococcus is a leading cause of infection in infants, which if left unchecked can lead to long-term disabilities and death. The GBS organism is carried in the female genital track and is passed on to babies during delivery.
Dr. Beau Batton, associate professor of neonatology at SIU School of Medicine, says many women who carry the organism do not have symptoms so screening is very important.
Dr. Batton says the antibiotics given to the mother during labor can greatly reduce the chances of the baby having group B strep.