Group B Streptococcal (GBS)
This is the main cause of meningitis and septicaemia in newborn babies.
It can be transmitted from mother to baby before or during birth, or through contact with adults who handle the baby.
An estimated 20 –30 % of pregnant women carry GBS bacteria in the bowels or vagina, but 99% of babies born to mothers who carry the bacteria are perfectly healthy.
There is currently no vaccine available that protects against GBS meningitis and septicaemia. There is a vaccine under development however, and it is hoped that in future women will be able to be immunised in pregnancy to protect newborns from this type of meningitis.
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Group A Streptococcal
GAS bacteria are commonly found on the surface of the skin and in the throat.
These bacteria commonly cause mild throat, skin, ear and sinus infections in both adults and children.
More rarely these bacteria cause an invasive infection where they penetrate deeper into the tissues and organs of the body causing more serious disease.
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