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Group B Streptococcus Infection in Newborns


Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria that is a common cause of infection. Sometimes, however, it is present in certain areas of the body but causes no symptoms or illness. This is referred to as colonization. One out of every five women is colonized with GBS in the gastrointestinal or genitourinary tract.

When a woman who is colonized with GBS is pregnant, the bacteria can be passed on to the infant through aspiration of contaminated amniotic fluid or acquisition of the organism during passage through the birth canal. Infection with GBS may occur in one of several locations in the infant's body.

Pregnancy-associated GBS disease can affect the mother, as well. If the infection spreads upward, it can result in maternal sepsis or even meningitis.

The focus of care in GBS disease has become prevention. The goals of care include detection of at risk pregnancies and intrapartum (during delivery) prophylactic (preventive) treatment with antibiotics.

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