S Sriskandan
Journal Issue: 
Volume 41: Issue 4: 2011



Despite global efforts to reduce maternal mortality, maternal deaths from bacterial sepsis have actually risen in the UK. The group A streptococcus, also known as Streptococcus pyogenes, is the leading cause of infection-related death in pregnancy and the puerperium. Many clinicians remain unaware of the risks posed to this particular group of otherwise fit, healthy patients despite the fact that S. pyogenes has been the leading infective cause of puerperal deaths since records began. S. pyogenes has a specific but unexplained predilection for the recently pregnant woman, and has an attributable mortality greater than many other invasive bacteria. Here, the epidemiology, aetiology, and management of severe peripartum sepsis are discussed, as are potential approaches to reduce risks. While fundamental changes in healthcare access can lead to dramatic reductions in maternal deaths in developing countries, an improvement in maternal sepsis deaths in the UK will requir