Tag Archives: GBS

Important Message for Mommies to Be: GBS Awareness

I haven’t really talked publicly about this much, but for the past couple years my husband and I have been trying to start a family. It’s been a long and difficult path, and I’ll share the whole story about our journey soon. But I wanted to share some information with all the mommies-to-be out there because my Cincy Chic team recently connected with (and went to NYC with!) the local experts at Meridian Bioscience to learn about a special test pregnant women can get to detect some really important things you should know about your little baby bean before you give birth!

I guess their message hit me more since we’ve been trying so hard to just GET pregnant, and I couldn’t imagine putting its little life at risk when it could have been easily been detected by a simple test… which, as just the cherry on top, happened to be developed by local experts!! I was even just talking to Shari Goldsmith, our “Coach Shari” columnist on Cincy Chic about this GBS test, and she said her son actually was affected with that, and she wished she had taken the test! What a small world!!

So, I wanted to share an article that Meridian Bioscience wrote about GBS awareness and I hope you’ll share this with the mommies to be in your life! Have a great week with your family this week and happy holidays!


When Tests Get It Wrong

There are few things more devastating than losing a child — especially when it could have been prevented. The tiny lives lost each year from infection with Group B Streptococcus can be saved by screening and appropriate treatment.

But sometimes things go wrong.

Group B Strep (GBS) is just one of the many bacterial communities that colonize a healthy adult. GBS bacteria live harmlessly in somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of healthy women. However, when the bacteria are transmitted to a baby during birth, the newborn can become seriously ill. Fortunately, it is rare for an infant to become infected with GBS, but when it happens, it is all too often deadly.

Negative Test, False Reassurance
Stephanie Worthy was tested for GBS 33 weeks into her pregnancy and the test was negative. Her son, Jaxton, was born on the evening of December 7, 2011. He was completely healthy and sailed through all the newborn tests with high marks. Six hours later he was in neonatal intensive care for observation. Four days later he was dead. “They didn’t diagnose him [with GBS] for eight hours,” Worthy explains, presumably because her GBS test was negative.

RaeAnne Latimore also tested negative for GBS, at 35 and a half weeks. Her son, Blake, was born at 5:30 in the afternoon of January 6, 2012, one month after Jaxton Worthy was born. At one o’clock the next morning Blake was making strange grunting sounds and Latimore couldn’t rouse him for feeding. She became concerned, but the nurse reassured her that the noises were normal. Latimore insisted that they look Blake over in the nursery. Half an hour later the doctor came in to tell Latimore that Blake was seriously ill. At 8:37 that morning, “our little fighter gave up his fight,” says Latimore.  “They ruled out GBS because of my negative test,” she explains, but a nurse practitioner who had been on the team that tried to save him thought the symptoms looked like GBS and asked the pathologist to check for it in the autopsy.”

She was right. GBS infection was the cause of Blake’s death. “Testing negative doesn’t mean you are negative,” warns Worthy.

Better Tests
“False negatives can be a problem,” explains Amanda Smith, medical technologist in the microbiology department at The Pathology Lab in Lake Charles, Louisiana. “We were researching why even with patients who were getting good prenatal care, mothers who tested negative were sometimes delivering babies that were infected,” says Smith. In January of this year, The Pathology Lab switched from the old culture-based test to the illumigene® GBS test from Meridian Bioscience, Inc. because the molecular test is more sensitive, according to Smith. As more labs switch to the more sensitive molecular test, perhaps outcomes like Blake’s and Jaxton’s will become even more uncommon.


Supporting GBS in the Big Apple!

This is a guest post by my right-hand woman at Cincy Chic, Stephanie Zastawa, who recently visited NYC to raise awareness for GBS. Keep reading to learn more…

nycThe chance to spend sometime in the Big Apple – who would pass that up? Definitely not me, since it was one city I have yet to see! Little did I know it would be the quickest but most rewarding and heart-tugging trip yet!

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Meridian Bioscience Inc. was heading off to New York City to spread the awareness of GBS, better known as Group B Strep, on Times Square! For those of you who may not know what exactly GBS is, it is a condition that pregnant mothers may unknowingly pass on to their newborn child, which can result in fatality. Women get tested at 35-37 weeks gestation to see if they are Group B Strep positive, if they are positive, they will receive antibiotics in labor so they don’t pass on the bacteria to their baby. The problem is, traditional culture tests do not detect all of the positive women, increasing their chances to pass GBS on. Meridian Bioscience released a new Group B Strep test – illumigene® Group B Strep, which is more accurate compared to popular culture testing methods used in most doctors’ offices.

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July was GBS awareness month and to raise awareness, Meridian Bioscience had a 10 second GBS awareness video on Times Square’s CBS Screen! You can check out the video here: http://vimeo.com/69482302. In combination with this video, Meridian Bioscience along with Group B Strep International hit the streets of Times Square to spread and increase awareness of GBS and the illumigene® Group B Strep test. I was fortunate enough to join these incredible people!

During my time, I met some of the most amazing people…their stories on the other hand were heart breaking. I had the chance to talk to and hear from three women who all had personal experiences with GBS. Unfortunately and sadly all three lost a child to this condition. Two of which were years back and one of which was pretty recent. However, it didn’t matter how long ago or recent this heartbreak occurred, the loss of child seems to be the hardest and it reflected in their voices and tears.

But it was the illumigene® Group B Strep and Meridian Bioscience team, that really awed me, none of which have had a personal connection to GBS. Their commitment and strong connection to this effort moved me. Maybe it was because of the stories upon stories they have heard and have come across throughout this journey as well as the release of the illumigene® Group B Strep test. Either way, they were on a mission in Times Square and that was simply to make others aware!

steph nyc

That day, keep in mind the heat index was 110 degrees, we started underneath the CBS Screen where the GBS awareness video would loop and then moved our way to Broadway, passing out thousands of GBS awareness pins and postcards. By the end of the day we chalked it off as a success! It was so heart-warming to see so many people come together to support something they felt so strongly for.

I was asked by the Meridian Bioscience team to give a short interview on my thoughts about the day…and let’s just say there were a few moments when I just about started to cry.


For me, I had no real background about GBS until we began to partner with Meridian Bioscience, and even then I did not put much thought into it. It was my trip to NYC and the experience I had, that really opened my eyes to the seriousness of Group B Strep. I, myself, am at the age where I soon hope to have children, and to think of carrying a child for 9 months and then soon after losing them to a condition out of my control is devastating.

steph nyc2

Knowledge really is power, asking my doctor and being sure I am tested for GBS with illumigene® is the most important thing I can do for myself and more importantly my child.

GBS is participating as a sponsor in Cincy Chic’s upcoming “School’s Back, Mom Relax” event on August 23, where you can RSVP!