Diagnosis, Treatment, and Complications
Group B strep (GBS) disease is often serious. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important.
If doctors suspect someone has GBS disease, they
- Will take samples of sterile body fluids such as blood and spinal fluid. Doctors look to see if GBS bacteria grow from the samples (culture). It can take a few days to get these results since the bacteria need time to grow.
- May also order a chest x-ray to help determine if someone has GBS disease.
Sometimes GBS bacteria can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs or bladder infections). Doctors use a sample of urine to diagnose UTIs.
Doctors usually treat GBS disease with antibiotics. Sometimes people with soft tissue and bone infections may need additional treatment, such as surgery. Treatment will depend on the kind of infection caused by GBS bacteria. It is important to start treatment as soon as possible.
Babies may have long-term problems, such as deafness and developmental disabilities, due to having GBS disease. Babies who had meningitis are especially at risk for having long-term problems.
Even with good care, babies can still die
Care for sick babies has improved a lot in the United States. However, 2 to 3 in every 50 babies (4% to 6%) who develop GBS disease will die.
GBS bacteria may be one of many different factors that can cause some miscarriages, stillbirths, and preterm deliveries. Most of the time, the cause for these events is not known.
Serious GBS infections, such as bacteremia, sepsis, and pneumonia, can also be deadly for adults. On average, about 1 in 20 non-pregnant adults with serious GBS infections dies. Risk of death is lower among younger adults and adults who do not have other medical conditions.