Deaths of children, especially new borns, are what nobody wishes for.

That is why researches continue to look for the cause to prevent deaths of hundreds of thousands of infants every year.

Researchers have now discovered that a little-known bacterial infection found in one in five pregnant women worldwide is responsible for an estimated 147,000 stillbirths and infant deaths each year.

The researchers now say a vaccine is urgently needed to address this problem.

The study in the journal ‘Clinical Infectious Diseases’ is the first comprehensive look at the impact of Group B Streptococcus infection (GBS), which is estimated to live harmlessly in the intestinal tracts of up to a third of all adults.

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When a pregnant woman carries the bacteria, it can pass to her unborn baby via the amniotic fluid, or during birth as the infant passes through the vaginal canal.

Babies and fetuses are particularly vulnerable because their immune systems are not strong enough to fight the multiplying bacteria.

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If untreated, GBS can lead to meningitis and septicemia, which can be deadly. Babies that survive may develop cerebral palsy, or permanent sight and hearing problems.

At the moment, there is no vaccine available to prevent GBS, although work is in progress to develop one.

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