Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a type of bacteria that can cause illness in people of all ages. In newborns, GBS is a major cause of meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (infection of the lungs), and sepsis (infection of the blood) (CDC 1996; CDC 2005; CDC 2009).
Group B strep lives in the intestines and migrates down to the rectum, vagina, and urinary tract. All around the world, anywhere from 10-30% of pregnant women are “colonized” with or carry GBS in their bodies (Johri et al. 2006). Using a swab of the rectum and vagina, women can test positive for GBS temporarily, on-and-off, or persistently (CDC 2010).
Being colonized with GBS does not mean that a woman will develop a GBS infection. Most women with GBS do not have any GBS infections or symptoms. However, GBS can cause urinary tract infections and GBS infections in the newborn (CDC 2010), and women who have preterm births are 1.7 times more likely to be colonized with GBS during labor than women who do not have preterm births (Valkenburg-van den Berg et al. 2009). Read the rest of this very informative article HERE.