Overall Trends

Group B Streptococcus (group B strep, GBS) emerged in the 1970s as the most common cause of sepsis in newborns. Early-onset disease (occurs in babies younger than 1 week old) declined by 80% since increased use of intrapartum prophylaxis.

More recently, experts recognized the increasing impact invasive GBS disease has on adults. Invasive disease is when bacteria invade a site where there usually are no bacteria, like the blood.

Bact Facts Interactive

magnifying glass with bacteria symbolAnalyze and visualize ABCs group B strep data using Bact Facts Interactive.

Active Surveillance

GBS disease is not reportable in most states.

CDC conducts active surveillance for invasive GBS disease through Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs). ABCs covers a multistate population of approximately 37 million, including approximately 445,000 live births annually.

Cases for this active surveillance system have to meet the following case definition:

  • GBS bacteria must be isolated from a normally sterile site, such as:
    • Blood
    • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
    • Pleural fluid
    • Peritoneal fluid
    • Pericardial fluid
    • Bone
    • Joint/synovial fluid
    • Internal body site (e.g., lymph node, brain)
  • Case patient must be a resident of one of the defined surveillance areas


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