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Warning as baby bacteria problems increase

Monday October 20th, 2014

A bacteria responsible for serious disease in new-born babies is on the increase, researchers warn today.

A study in the Netherlands finds a 60% increase in diseases linked to infection with group B streptococcus.

The researchers call for screening of all pregnant women for the infection - rather than the practice often used of trying to identify high risk women.

The researchers compared rates of disease caused by the bacteria between 1987 and 2011.

They found in 1987 11 cases of early-onset disease for every 100,000 births compared with 19 cases in 2011. For late onset disease there were 3 cases in 1987 - rising to 0.13 in 2011.

The findings were reported in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Researcher Dr Arie van der Ende from the Reference Laboratory for Bacterial Meningitis, Amsterdam, said today: "Our findings should lead to a reassessment of current practices. Only offering antibiotic treatment during labour to pregnant women at risk is probably too limited to prevent all group B streptococcal infections in newborn infants."

Incidence of invasive group B streptococcal disease and pathogen genotype distribution in newborn babies in the Netherlands over 25 years: a nationwide surveillance study. The Lancet Infect Dis 20 October 2014; 14: 1083–89 [abstract]

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Europe | MRSA & Hygiene

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