Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of group B strep (GBS) disease are different in newborns compared to people of other ages who get GBS disease.

In Newborns and Their Mothers

The symptoms of GBS disease can seem like other health problems in newborns and babies. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Irritability or lethargy (limpness or hard to wake up the baby)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue-ish color to skin

Babies who get it in the first week of life have “early-onset GBS disease.” Most newborns with early-onset disease have symptoms on the day of birth. In contrast, babies who develop disease later can appear healthy at birth and during their first week of life.

Women who give birth to a baby who develops GBS disease usually do not feel sick or have any symptoms.

In Others

Symptoms depend on the part of the body that is infected. Listed below are symptoms associated with the most common infections caused by GBS bacteria.

Symptoms of bacteremia (blood stream infection) and sepsis (the body’s extreme response to an infection) include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Low alertness

Symptoms of pneumonia (lung infection) include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain

Skin and soft-tissue infections often appear as a bump or infected area on the skin that may be:

  • Red
  • Swollen or painful
  • Warm to the touch
  • Full of pus or other drainage

People with skin infections may also have a fever.

Bone and joint infections often appear as pain in the infected area and might also include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness or inability to use the affected limb or joint