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July 2017 – Blog on Group Streptococcus B Awareness Month

This month, Thomson & Bancks are increasing awareness about Streptococcus B. Lucy Sherry explains the types of Streptococcal infections and their symptoms.

Streptococcal infections are divided into two key groups:

  • Alpha-haemolytic
  • Beta-haemolytic 

This post focuses on the more common Beta Group. This includes Group A and Group B Streptococci, which are normally treated with antibiotics, prescribed by your GP.

Strep A are, bacteria, often found on the surface of the skin and inside the throat. It is transmitted by droplets, when an infected person sneezes, coughs or exhales.

Examples of Strep A include:

  • Throat infections (pharyngitis or “strep throat”) & tonsillitis – can cause a sore throat, swollen glands and discomfort when swallowing.
  • Impetigo – a skin infection that can cause sores, blisters and crusts to develop on the skin.
  • Cellulitis – an infection of the deeper layers of the skin, which can leave affected areas: red, painful, swollen and hot.
  • Middle ear infection – often causes earache, high temperature (fever) and temporary hearing loss.
  • Sinusitis – infection of the small cavities behind the forehead and cheekbones – causes a blocked/runny nose and a throbbing pain in the face.
  • Scarlet Fever – an infection causing a fine pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch.

In rare cases, Strep A bacteria can penetrate deeper inside the tissues and organs of the body. This is known as an invasive infection and is common in compromised immune systems, or of babies or the elderly. Examples include:

  • Pneumonia – infection of the lungs that causes persistent coughing, breathing difficulties and chest pain.
  • Sepsis –  infection of the blood that causes fever, rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing.
  • Meningitis – the protective, outer layer of the brain becomes infected, causing a severe headache, vomiting, stiff neck, increased sensitivity to light and a distinctive blotchy red rash.
  • Toxic Shock Syndrome – bacteria release toxins into the blood, which can cause high fever, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoeafaintingdizziness and confusion.
  • Necrotising Fasciitis –infection of the deeper layers of the skin, fat and covering of the muscle (fascia), which can cause severe pain, swelling and redness.

By comparison, Strep B bacteria usually live harmlessly inside the digestive system and in the vagina. It can cause infections of the urinary tract, bone, blood or skin and increases chances of developing pneumonia.

Strep B infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriage or stillbirth, but this is rare. It is estimated that around one in every four pregnant women have Strep B bacteria in their vagina or digestive system. Occasionally the bacteria is passed onto the baby through the amniotic fluid or as the baby moves through the birth canal, during labour.

While most babies exposed to Strep B are unaffected, around 1 in 2,000 are at risk of infection. Successful treatment with IV antibiotics will usually enable a full recovery. However, there is the chance they could die due to complications, such as meningitis. Babies who survive are sometimes left with permanent problems, such as hearing or vision loss and memory problems.

Delayed diagnosis of sepsis often kills the elderly and harms babies, suffering with Strep B in Hospital. As an expert in medical negligence, I appreciate that my clients generally only want to receive an apology, and reassurance that the same terrible mistakes will not be made again. Unfortunately, disabled children often require expensive equipment and rehabilitation which the parents cannot afford, and this is where I would offer legal advice and represent them.

For more information on the Strepoccocal infections, visit –http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/streptococcal-infections/pages/introduction.aspx

 

Catch up with Lucy Sherry’s previous blog posts

June 2017 – Blog on Brain Food!
May 2017 – Blog on Why Eating Less Meat Could Help Save the Planet!
March 2017 – Blog on Going Sugar-free this Lent
February 2017 – Blog on Antibiotics in Animal Feed & the Rise of the Superbug; 1 Reason Why I was Vegetarian!
January 2017 – Blog on Alcohol; a harmless social escape or a dangerous poison?
December 2016 – Blog on Our annual Christmas binge & January famine!
November 2016 – Blog on Battling Stress at Work
October 2016 – Blog on The Taboos About Men’s Mental Health

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