The Group B Strep Association (GBSA) is a non-profit organization that was formed in June of 1990 by parents whose babies died from this devastating infection.
Our goals are to:
- Educate the public about GBS infections
- To promote prevention of neonatal GBS through routine prenatal screening
- To promote the development of the GBS vaccine
The Association has members from all over the United States, Canada, England, as well as many overseas countries. Through their volunteer efforts, these individuals are educating their local communities via newspaper articles, television programs, GBSA educational pamphlet distribution, speaking engagements, letter writing, and sharing their own experiences with GBS. Please view our timeline of activities in order to see the progression of our activities and the hard earned exposure we have brought to this disease. LINK HERE to timeline
Our efforts have been a labor of love for our babies. By the mid 1990ís, just five years after our organization began members of the Group B Strep Association were able to convince the medical community to publish the first ever national standards for prevention of GBS disease in newborns. In June of 1996, the first national medical standards for neonatal GBS prevention were published by the Centers for Disease Control,the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. We worked in conjunction with these medical organizations and participated in the National Medical Consensus meeting held in San Francisco, California.
Our efforts are working! Despite GBS carriage rates remaining the same (the number of women who carry the bacteria), both the numbers of infant infection and death each year have been almost reduced by over 70% since formation of GBSA! This is an incredible public health victory.
"...the numbers of infant infection and death each year [has] been reduced by over 70% since formation of GBSA..."
For fifteen years, parents and families whose babies were victims of this infection have lobbied the medical establishment for prevention standards, all the time promoting routine screening of all pregnant women as well as supporting vaccine development. Parents have taken their GBS disabled children to their legislators and their congressmen. Parents have distributed hundreds of thousands of educational pamphlets. Parents have run marathons to raise money and awareness for further education. Parents have talked to reporters, written to talk shows, talked to their communities over and over again. The Group B Strep Association is a family of families who want to prevent this disease from happening to others.
Seeing your newborn dying in the intensive care unit, watching your child not being able to walk until age seven due to GBS related complications, wondering if your next pregnancy will be healthy, anxiously hoping that you can carry a pregnancy to term and not miscarry due to GBS - this is what members of the Group B Strep Association share. We share concern and we share commitment to our children that others will be spared this fate.
Please read our information. If you are pregnant, ask your healthcare provider to screen you for GBS bacteria. Your doctor must honor your request to be screened. Inform your care providers, nurses and pediatrician if your culture is GBS positive. Prevention is critical. Prevention is key. Prevention means a healthy baby. The choice is yours.
With warm regards,
Gina Burns, President, Group B Strep Association
Jay and I lost our first son, Keegan, on September 23, 1989. He was one week old. The first time we held him, he lay dying in our arms. Keegan died from a preventable infection. Fueled by love, and anger at the injustice of his death, we formed the Group B Strep Association just six months after Keegan died, along with Biddie and Robert Grant and Donna and Bill Hodous, other parents whose newborns had also died,
This organization would never have been able to accomplish such a tremendous public health victory without the love and dedication of hundreds of thousands of families just like ours who have worked tirelessly to stop this tragedy. These efforts are in hopes that others would never experience the loss of a child or the devastation of having a child disabled for life from this disease.
Our story is a very small part of a much larger story. In less than fifteen years, the incidence of Group b Strep infections in newborns has been reduced by over 70%. We are awaiting a vaccine that will be given to all women either pregnant or considering pregnancy. This vaccine sits on the horizon. Our hopes are that it will bring an end to this human tragedy just like so many other vaccines have been able to do. To eradicate this disease would fulfill the legacies of all those babies whose innocent lives were stolen.
Click here to see the GBSA Timeline.
Click here to read about GBSA awards and speaking engagements.