Newborn babies are ten times more at risk from common diseases than previously thought, experts have warned.
EnglandA study by a team from the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust found that one in every 200 newborns is admitted to neonatal units with sepsis caused by GBS.
Experts added that this was about 10 times higher than the previous estimate.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria normally live in the vagina or rectum and are usually harmless. However, if pregnant women pass the virus to their babies during birth, this can expose them to high-risk complications such as sepsis or meningitis.
The researchers based their findings on a reanalysis of data from their previous study, which found that GBS was present in the placenta of about 5 percent of women before birth.
The studies included 436 babies, and the team confirmed their findings in a second group of 925 pregnancies.
MAY HAVE DISADVANTAGE EFFECTS ON NEWBORN
Jane Plumb, chief executive of the charity Group B Strep Support, said: “This important study highlights the extent of the devastating impact of group B Strep on newborn babies and how important it is to accurately measure the number of these infections.”
“This research suggests that the number of preventable infections may be ten times higher than previously thought, and each can have a significant impact on babies and their families.”
“Without understanding the true number of infections, we may not be able to implement appropriate prevention strategies and measure how effective they are.” said.