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What is Group B Strep?

July is International Group B Strep Awareness Month, and today on the blog, we take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the disease.

About Group B Streptococcus

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Group B Strep is a specific type of bacteria that is known to cause illnesses in people of all ages. The disease can be especially dangerous in newborns and is known to cause blood infection, pneumonia, and sometimes meningitis.

The most common Group B illnesses in adults are infections in the bloodstream, skin and soft tissue, bones, joints, and pneumonia. Other symptoms include fever, chills, cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and stiffness of the joints and muscles.

People infected with the bacteria may be tested by having a sterile fluid – like blood or spinal fluid – drawn from their body and tested in a lab.

The rates of people with Group B Strep is the highest among newborns, but the disease does occur in other age groups and in both men and woman across the United States. As of right now, the bacteria is common in the gastrointestinal tract of both men and woman and may be the source of the infection in adults.

Facts about Group B Strep

• Newborns are at an increased risk of contracting Group b Strep if their mother has tested positive for the bacteria during her pregnancy.
• Expectant mothers should be tested for the bacteria when they are 35-37 weeks pregnant.
• Group B Strep is the leading cause of meningitis in newborns in the United States.
• Group B Strep may come and go in people’s bodies without symptoms.
• The rate of serious Group B infection increases with age.

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