International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month

International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month


The Centers for Disease Control and allied health organizations recognize the month of February as International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month. The importance of raising awareness of these types of infections is significant, because although preventable, these infections occur quite often. Prenatal Infection can be harmful to both mother and infant, but especially to the child causing infection and possibly death.

Examples of Prenatal Infections-

  1. Zika virus
  2. Group B Streptococcus (GBS)
  3. Listeria
  4. HIV

There are many types of infections that are dangerous for newborns. One such infection is the Group B Strep. The cause of this specific infection is a bacteria which is found in the rectum or vagina, and around 25% of all healthy adult women carry this bacteria. Although this infection is most often harmless for the mother, newborns are quite susceptible and it can be life-threatening. Every year there are more than 200,000 reported cases of Group B Strep in the U.S. alone. During delivery GBS can pass from the mother to the child resulting in infections such as meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia, and in some cases leading to miscarriage, premature birth, or handicaps that last a lifetime.

The #1 cause of meningitis and sepsis during an infants first week of life if Group B Strep.

Prenatal Care

During the last trimester during the time between the 35th and 37th week women get tested for GBS as a precaution to help prevent infection of their baby. This test is performed by swabbing the vagina and the rectum, and then running lab analysis to test for the GBS bacteria. The test typically takes around 24-48 hours.

Preventative Measures

  1. Washing hands
  2. Prenatal care
  3. Food safety including avoiding soft cheeses and cold deli meat or hot dogs.
  4. Immunizations
  5. Avoiding procedures that are invasive or unnecessary.
  6. Don’t share food or drinks with others to avoid contact with other’s body fluids
  7. Use precaution when hiking to avoid ticks.

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