Group B Strep - Diagnosis Errors

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Modified on 2009/10/14 21:53 by admin
Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacterium that causes illness in newborn babies, pregnant women, the elderly, and adults with other illnesses, such as diabetes or liver disease. GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborns.

GBS is the most common cause of sepsis (blood infection) and meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining surrounding the brain) in newborns. GBS is a frequent cause of newborn pneumonia and is more common than other, better known, newborn problems such as rubella, congenital syphilis, and spina bifida.

Symptoms of the disorder include, but may not be limited to, seizures, fever, difficulty breathing and grunting.

Before prevention methods were widely used, approximately 8,000 babies in the United States would get GBS disease each year. One of every 20 babies with GBS disease dies from infection. Babies that survive, particularly those who have meningitis, may have long-term problems, such as hearing or vision loss or learning disabilities.

In pregnant women, GBS can cause bladder infections, womb infections (amnionitis, endometritis), and stillbirth. Among men and among women who are not pregnant, the most common diseases caused by GBS are blood infections, skin or soft tissue infections, and pneumonia. Approximately 20% of men and nonpregnant women with GBS disease die of the disease.

Many people carry GBS in their bodies but do not become ill. These people are considered to be "carriers." Adults can carry GBS in the bowel, vagina, bladder, or throat. One of every four or five pregnant women carries GBS in the rectum or vagina. A fetus may come in contact with GBS before or during birth if the mother carries GBS in the rectum or vagina. People who carry GBS typically do so temporarily -- that is, they do not become lifelong carriers of the bacteria.

Approximately one of every 100 to 200 babies whose mothers carry GBS develop signs and symptoms of GBS disease. Three-fourths of the cases of GBS disease among newborns occur in the first week of life ("early-onset disease"), and most of these cases are apparent a few hours after birth. Sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis are the most common problems. Premature babies are more susceptible to GBS infection than full-term babies, but most (75%) babies who get GBS disease are full term.

GBS disease may also develop in infants 1 week to several months after birth ("late-onset disease"). Meningitis is more common with late-onset GBS disease. Only about half of late-onset GBS disease among newborns comes from a mother who is a GBS carrier; the source of infection for others with late-onset GBS disease is unknown. Late-onset disease is very rare.

Failure to diagnose Group B Strep or a delay in diagnosis may be medical malpractice. Physicians should routinely administer prenatal screening tests for the disorder. Attorneys have filed a number of medical malpractice cases over a doctor's failure to diagnose Group B Strep in an infant.

Don't pay for your doctor's negligence. If you are living with the consequences of a misdiagnosis, or if a loved one needlessly died because of a healthcare professional's negligence, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.





See Also

  1. Diagnosis Errors
  2. Blindness
  3. Blood Disorders: Overview
  4. Hearing Loss
  5. Infections
  6. Lung & Airway Disorders
  7. Seizures: Overview
  8. Sepsis
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