1. Is it possible to prevent a group B strep (GBS) infection?
Administering antimicrobial agents during labor to those who are colonized with GBS has greatly decreased the incidence of babies born with early-onset GBS infection. A GBS vaccine is not currently available.
3. Should every woman be treated with antibiotics for GBS during delivery or during pregnancy?
Since about 75% of pregnant women are not colonized by GBS at the time of delivery, it makes the most sense to treat the 25% who are. Since GBS colonization comes and goes, treatment during a pregnancy would not ensure that GBS is not present at the time of delivery.
4. Can babies get GBS infections more than 7 days after they are born?
Infants can also contract late-onset GBS infection from 7 days to several months after birth. Late-onset disease is not preventable by administering antibiotics during labor since the bacteria are not acquired during pregnancy or during the birth process.
5. What is the difference between group A and group B streptococcus?
Group A streptococcus (GAS) and group B streptococcus (GBS) are similar types of bacteria, but they cause different types of infections. GAS is not usually part of the normal bacterial flora. GAS is the bacteria that causes "strep throat" that is detected using a rapid strep test or a throat culture. GAS may also cause severe skin and wound infections. GBS can be part of the normal bacteria found in the throat, vaginal tract, and gastrointestinal tract. GBS causes infections in newborns and in adults with compromised immune systems.
GBS may cause infections of the lining of the uterus (endometritis) in women who have given birth (postpartum) or who have undergone other obstetric or gynecological procedures. GBS also causes wound infections and serious blood and central nervous system infections in adults, especially those who have diabetes.
General screening of asymptomatic people, as it is discussed in this article, is not performed in these populations. Cultures of the affected areas of the body are done only if signs and symptoms of infection are present.
This article was last reviewed on June 26, 2013. | This article was last modified on August 20, 2015.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.