Monday, February 20, 2012

The Dangers That GBS and Meningitis Pose For Newborns by Joseph Hernandez

Group B Strep is the major frequent source of sepsis and meningitis (a severe illness of the fluid of the spinal cord and the fluid surrounding the brain) in infants. As a bacterial infection, group b strep can attack a newborn if it is passed to the child from the mother during the birth process

The bacteria normally grows in the vagina and/or the lower intestine. It is found in about 1 out of every 4 adult women. However, it does not typically cause an active infection or bring about symptoms. Passing of the bacteria from mother to the infant typically takes place in the course of labor and delivery. The child could be exposed to GBS, as an example, if the bacteria travels up from the mother's vagina into the uterus after the membranes (bag of water) rupture. The infant might additionally come in contact with GBS while moving down through the birth canal. In this period, the baby can consume or breathe in the bacteria.

Around 75% of cases of Group b strep in newborns arise in the first week of life, and most appear after only a few hours following birth. This is called "early onset" group b strep. The rest develop a GBS infection from one week to several months after delivery. This is called as "late onset" disease. In general, roughly fifty percent of cases of late onset can be linked to the baby's mother having been colonized with the bacteria. In the remaining situations of late onset, the origin of the infection is unidentified.

Once the baby is exposed to the bacteria, it can get into the baby’s bloodstream. This can result in sepsis (overwhelming infection all over the body), pneumonia, or meningitis. They are all dangerous illnesses which can progress rapidly and leave the infant with permanent disabilities or can even bring about the baby’s death. Various common likely disabilities are: brain damage, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, and seizures.

The most common symptoms of meningitis include: a high temperature, lethargy, unusual irritability, trouble feeding, stiffness, vomiting, and rashes. Given that the infection can progress rapidly quick treatment is needed to avoid significant harm to the baby. For bacterial based meningitis (for example gbs related meningitis), treatment requires the rapid use of intravenous IV and antibiotics. A diagnosis of meningitis is established by taking a sample of spinal fluid through a spinal tap and growing the bacteria for proper identification. This is important in order to identify the right antibiotic to be administered. The outcome of the test can take a few hours. In the time it takes for the results, the infection may lead to lasting damage or kill the infant. Given the immediacy involved, treatment generally commences before there is a confirmed diagnosis if meningitis is suspected. Penicillin is the most commonly administered treatment.

If an infant died or suffers from irreversible disabilities that were avoidable aside from the failure on the part of a physician to recognize signs of GBS meningitis or to give immediate treatment that doctor might be liable for malpractice. Parents of children so injured by GBS meningitis should contact a lawyer experienced in birth injury lawsuits immediately since the law permits just a limited amount of time to go forward with a birth injury claim.