Group B Streptococcus (GBS) in Children

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Overview

Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacterium that can be found in the digestive tract, urinary tract and genital area of adults. Although GBS usually doesn't cause problems in healthy women before pregnancy, it can cause serious illness for the mother and baby during pregnancy and after delivery.

  • GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborns.
  • One out of every four or five pregnant women carries GBS in her rectum or vagina.
  • About one out of every 100 to 200 babies whose mothers carry GBS develop symptoms of GBS disease.
  • Nearly 75 percent of the cases of GBS disease among newborns occur in the first week of life, called early-onset disease.
  • Premature babies are more susceptible to GBS infection than full-term babies.
  • Pregnant woman can get tested for GBS prior to giving birth, making GBS preventable.
  • Prevention methods include antibiotics for the mother during labor.
  • Babies with GBS will most often be treated with antibiotics.
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