Group B Strep (cont.)
Steven Doerr, MD
Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Group B strep facts
- What is group B strep?
- What causes group B strep infection?
- How is group B strep transmitted?
- What are the signs and symptoms of group B strep infection?
- How is group B strep infection diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for group B strep infection?
- What are the complications of group B strep infection?
- Is it possible to prevent group B strep infection?
What is the treatment for group B strep?
For women who test positive for GBS during pregnancy and for those with certain risk factors for developing or transmitting GBS infection during pregnancy, intravenous antibiotics are generally recommended at the time of labor. The administration of antibiotics to women before labor who are known to be colonized with GBS is not effective in preventing early onset disease, as it has been found that the GBS bacteria can grow back quickly. Pregnant women who are not aware of their group B strep status should be given antibiotics during labor if they develop preterm labor (less than 37 weeks gestation), if they have membrane rupture for 18 hours or longer, or if they develop fever during labor. Penicillin or ampicillin are the recommended antibiotics. The administration of antibiotics has been shown to significantly decrease GBS infection in newborns. If a pregnant carrier of GBS receives intravenous antibiotics during delivery, her baby has a one in 4,000 chance of developing GBS infection. Without antibiotics, her baby has a one in 200 chance of developing GBS infection.
In neonates and nonpregnant adults who develop invasive GBS infection, intravenous antibiotics are also the mainstay of treatment. There are certain conditions associated with invasive GBS infection that may require surgical intervention, for example surgical debridement in certain patients with soft tissue/skin infections.
What are the complications of group B strep infection?
Invasive infection with GBS in babies may result in sepsis, pneumonia, meningitis, or occasionally death. In the United States, the mortality (death) rate for group B strep infection in babies is between 4%-6%.
In pregnant women, infection with GBS may cause urinary tract infection, infection of the uterus and placenta, as well as stillbirth or miscarriage. Mortality rates in these patients are low because they tend to be healthy young or middle-aged individuals.
In nonpregnant adults with chronic medical conditions who develop invasive GBS infection, complications may include pneumonia, urinary tract infection, sepsis, skin and soft-tissue infection, bone and joint infection, and rarely meningitis. This group of patients tends to have higher mortality rates, ranging from 9%-47% depending on the published report.
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