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:
- Difficulty feeding
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
- Difficulty feeding
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
- Puopolo KM, et al. Group B streptococcal infection in neonates and young infants. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 30, 2013.
- Group B strep. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/about/index.html. Accessed May 30, 2013.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 21st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=14. Accessed May 30, 2013.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed May 30, 2013.
- Barshak M, et al. Group B streptococcal infections in nonpregnant adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 30, 2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Prevention of perinatal group B streptococcal disease. MMWR. 2010;59:1. http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/guidelines/guidelines.html. Accessed May 30, 2013.