Rates of serious group B strep (GBS) infections are higher among newborns, but anyone can get GBS disease. Below are some other important facts about GBS disease in babies, pregnant women, and others.
GBS disease can be very serious, especially for babies.
- In the United States, GBS bacteria are a leading cause of meningitis and bloodstream infections in a newborn’s first three months of life.
- Newborns are at increased risk for GBS disease if their mother tests positive for the bacteria late in pregnancy.
- 2 to 3 in every 50 babies (4–6%) who develop GBS disease die.
Pregnant women should get tested for GBS bacteria.
- About 1 in 4 pregnant women carries GBS bacteria in their body.
- Doctors and midwives should test pregnant women for GBS bacteria when they are 36 through 37 weeks pregnant.
- Giving pregnant women who carry GBS bacteria antibiotics through the vein (IV) during labor can prevent most cases of GBS disease in newborns during the first week of life.
Non-pregnant adults can get serious GBS disease.
- The most common GBS infections among non-pregnant adults include bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and skin and bone infections.
- The rate of serious GBS disease increases with age.
- On average, about 1 in 20 non-pregnant adults with serious GBS infections dies.