A new study by researchers at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston could help experts better decide whether to continue the current practice of retesting women during their second pregnancies for a common bacterial infection if they had tested positive for the infection previously.
Group B Streptococcus, or GBS, is a type of bacterial infection that is harmless to carriers but in some cases can be deadly to an infant passing through the mother's birth canal. It is normally found in the vagina and/or lower intestine of 10 to 30 percent of all adult women. GBS is not a sexually transmitted disease. Those women who test positive for GBS are considered "colonized."
Published in the Aug. 1, issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the two-year study included more than 5,000 women who delivered their babies between 2003 and 2004 in the greater Houston area.
"Of those women, we were able to follow 418 women who gave birth vaginally, had a second child or more, were tested for GBS during their first and second pregnancies, and were not excluded from the study due to various factors. We found that of the 418, the risk of testing positive for GBS during a second pregnancy was 53 percent," said lead author Mark A. Turrentine, M.D., clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UT Medical School at Houston.
According to Turrentine, research is ongoing to determine why some women are colonized and others are not. There also will need to be further studies conducted on how to use the information from this study.
Current guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) state that since colonization varies from pregnancy to pregnancy, women should be screened with each pregnancy.
"Our study did not tackle this issue, but the results could help experts decide whether it is cost effective to keep testing wo
|Contact: Melissa McDonald|
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston