Causes and Types of Infections

Causes

Bacteria called group B Streptococcus (group B strep, GBS) commonly live in people’s gastrointestinal and genital tracts. The gastrointestinal tract is the part of the body that digests food and includes the stomach and intestines. The genital tract is the part of the body involved in reproduction and includes the vagina in women. Most of the time the bacteria are not harmful and do not make people feel sick or have any symptoms. Sometimes the bacteria invade the body and cause certain infections, which are known as GBS disease.

Types of Infections

GBS bacteria can cause many types of infections:

  • Bacteremia (bloodstream infection) and sepsis (the body’s extreme response to an infection)
  • Bone and joint infections
  • Meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord)
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Skin and soft-tissue infections

GBS most commonly causes bacteremia, sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis in newborns. It is very uncommon for GBS to cause meningitis in adults.