Infants

Most babies born to women carrying group B strep are healthy. But the few who are infected by group B strep during labor can become critically ill.

In infants, illness caused by group B strep can take two forms: early onset or late onset.

Early-onset group B strep disease. A baby with early-onset group B strep disease becomes sick within one week after birth. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Lethargy

Late-onset group B strep disease. Late-onset group B strep disease develops within a week to a few months after birth, usually within the first month. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability

Adults

If you're like many adults, you may carry group B strep in your body, usually in your bowel, vagina, rectum, bladder or throat. Most adults simply carry the bacterium and have no signs or symptoms.

In some cases, group B strep may cause a urinary tract infection or more serious infections such as blood infections (bacteremia) or pneumonia.

When to see a doctor

As an adult, if you experience any signs or symptoms of group B strep infection — particularly if you're pregnant, you have a chronic medical condition or you're older than 65 — contact your doctor right away.

If you notice your infant has any of the signs or symptoms of group B strep disease, tell your baby's doctor immediately.

Aug. 22, 2013