Group B strep can pass from mother to child during labor. In some cases, medical personnel are aware of the maternal infection and protective steps are taken to lower the risk of neonatal infection, but such steps were not always available. Prior to advanced treatment and prevention techniques as many as 1.5 per 1,000 neonates were infected with group B strep. Group B strep infections can lead to sepsis and long-term medical conditions that may be life-threatening. An overview of the condition was published in the American Journal of Perinatology by a researched from the Alpert Medical School.
Group B strep infections can immediately attack the heart and lungs causing cardiovascular complications and pulmonary hypertension, though not all strep infections present with immediate symptoms. Some infections take longer to develop leading to sepsis. Sepsis can quickly cause death in infants.
Conclusion: With maternal screening and advanced treatment, the rate of group B strep infections has fallen to 0.3 per 1,000 births in the last 30 years. Doctors and researchers are hoping to lower the risk even more over the next 30 years.
Source: Oh W. Early Onset Neonatal Group B Streptococcal Sepsis. Am J Perinatol. 2013 Jan 15.