What Is Group B Strep?
Most people are familiar with streptococcus bacteria that infects the throat, causing what’s known as strep throat. It is classified as a group A strep infection. However, many people are unaware of another category known as group B strep infection, in which the bacteria routinely colonizes in the human body without causing symptoms. Group B bacteria is often carried in the intestines or lower genital tract. Occasionally, it can become dangerous. Here’s what you need to know…
What Is Group B Strep?
This type of strep infection, also known as beta strep, can affect adults who suffer from chronic illnesses, pregnant women, and newborns. If left untreated, it may lead to dangerous cases of sepsis (widespread bodily inflammation), pneumonia (lung infection), and meningitis (inflammation around the brain and spinal cord). Thousands of group B strep infection cases happen in the U.S. every year, and the highest rate of occurrences are found in those over the age of 65.
Group B Strep in Pregnancy
Strep B in pregnancy is not always a cause for concern. Many pregnant women and newborns may never suffer from symptoms or conditions associated with the infection.
However, infants who experience respiratory difficulty, fever, excessive tiredness, or who are not feeding well may have a related infection. If left untreated, the condition can be fatal and may take a baby’s life within his or her first week. In some cases, babies born with group B strep suffer from life-altering conditions like cerebral palsy, hearing loss, or vision loss. Babies can contract the infection before or during the birth.
Pregnant women should have a routine strep B test to decrease the chance of the child becoming infected. It is recommended that the test be conducted between the 35th and 37th weeks of pregnancy. When caught early, treatment involves a simple round of antibiotics.
If you’re a healthy adult, there is probably no reason to be screened for group B strep. It is recommended that you take the test if you become pregnant.
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Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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