How Common is GBS Disease in Newborns?

Approximately 8,000 babies in the United States contract serious GBS disease each year. Up to 800 of these babies may die from it, and up to 20% of the babies who survive GBS-related meningitis are left permanently handicapped.

In newborns, GBS is the most common cause of sepsis (infection of the blood) and meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining surrounding the brain) and is a frequent cause of newborn pneumonia. GBS disease is more common than other, better known, newborn problems such as rubella, congenital syphilis, and spina bifida. Some babies that survive, especially those who develop meningitis, may develop long-term medical problems, including hearing or vision loss, varying degrees of physical and learning disabilities, and cerebral palsy.

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