Three cases of type B streptococcus induced infant meningitis
In March, 2016, the Children’s Hospital of the University of Chinese Medicine in Taiwan admitted three babies with streptococcus induced meningitis.
Two of the cases were one-month old infants. Of the three cases, two are comatose and one baby has cerebral edema.
Infant meningitis occurs in babies of premature birth, and male infants. Type B streptococcus is found in the birth canal of 40% of birthing mothers, and there is a 50% chance that the streptococci will infect the newborn baby. Between 1% and 2% of newborn babies will be infected, and the probability of death by streptococci induced meningitis is 30% among the infected.
If a pregnant mother had high fever during her late term pregnancy, infection in the urinary tract, or if the previous newborn was infected by type B streptococcus infection, the next born has a twofold to tenfold chance of being infected also.
Screening of the birth canal and the use of preventive antibiotics can reduce the risk of acquiring early occurrence of type B streptococcus infection by 90%.