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What is 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 does not cause problems in healthy women before pregnancy, it can cause serious illness for the mother and baby during pregnancy and after delivery.
What causes group B streptococcus?
The bacterium that causes GBS may live in an adult's body for years and not cause any problems. The only time it becomes an issue is when a woman gets pregnant.
Is group B streptococcus common?
One out of every four or five pregnant women carries GBS in her rectum or vagina.
What are the symptoms of group B streptococcus?
Most newborns with GBS infection have symptoms in the first few hours after birth. Symptoms are related to the body systems that are affected by the infection. The symptoms for early-onset GBS can also seem like other problems. If you think your newborn is sick, call your doctor immediately. Some symptoms may include:
Can you preventgroup B streptococcus?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all pregnant women be tested for GBS in her vagina and rectum when she is 35 to 37 weeks pregnant. GBS can be cultured with a swab during a pelvic examination or from a mother's urine. If you are a carrier, you should be given antibiotics through the vein (IV) at the time of labor or when their water breaks.
It's important to understand that, in spite of testing and treatment, some babies still develop GBS disease. Research is ongoing to develop vaccines to prevent GBS disease. In the future, women who are vaccinated against GBS may make antibodies that cross the placenta and protect the baby during birth and early infancy.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”