Risk Factors for Group B Strep Disease

Key points

  • Anyone can get group B Streptococcus (group B strep, GBS) disease.
  • However, some people are at greater risk than others.
  • Being a certain age or having certain medical conditions can put you at increased risk for GBS disease.
A mother and father with their two children and a grandparent

People at increased risk


GBS disease is most common in newborns.

There are factors that can increase a pregnant woman's risk of having a baby who will develop GBS disease, including:

  • Testing positive for GBS bacteria late in pregnancy
  • Developing a fever during labor
  • Having 18 hours or more pass between water breaking and baby's birth

Pregnant? Learn about your baby's GBS risk‎

Talk to your healthcare provider about how to find out if you're at risk of having a newborn who will develop GBS disease.

Older adults

Risk increases with age: Adults 65 years or older are at increased risk compared to adults younger than 65 years old.

Conditions that can increase risk

Most adults who get GBS disease have other medical conditions.

Medical conditions that increase risk for GBS disease include:

  • Cancer or history of cancer
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity

People not at increased risk

Living with someone who has GBS bacteria does not increase a person's risk of getting sick.