Symptoms and Complications

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The symptoms of group B strep (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

Most newborns with early-onset disease have symptoms on the day of birth. In contrast, babies who develop late-onset disease can appear healthy at birth and during their first week of life.

Women who have GBS bacteria in their bodies usually do not feel sick or have any symptoms.


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. 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 also cause some miscarriages, stillbirths, and preterm deliveries. However, many different factors can lead to stillbirth, pre-term delivery, or miscarriage. Most of the time, the cause for these events is not known.