Group B Strep (cont.)

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What are the signs and symptoms of group B strep infection?

In newborns with early onset group B strep infection, the signs and symptoms usually develop within the first 24 hours of life. Those babies who develop late-onset group B strep infection are often healthy and thriving, with the signs and symptoms of the disease developing after the first week of life. Signs and symptoms that may be observed with GBS infection in babies include

  • fever,
  • breathing problems/grunting sounds,
  • bluish-colored skin (cyanosis),
  • seizures,
  • limpness or stiffness,
  • heart rate and blood pressure abnormalities,
  • poor feeding,
  • fussiness.

Adults who develop invasive GBS infection may develop bloodstream infection (sepsis), skin and soft-tissue infection, bone and joint infection, lung infection (pneumonia), urinary tract infection, or rarely an infection of the fluid and lining tissues surrounding the brain (meningitis). The exact source of the infection in nonpregnant adults is often not determined.

How is group B strep infection diagnosed?

In newborns and in adults, isolation of the group B strep bacteria is necessary for a definitive diagnosis. Laboratory studies that isolate the organism from certain body fluids, such as blood, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and urine help establish the diagnosis. Results of these tests can take a few days. A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) may need to be performed when meningitis is suspected. Imaging studies such as a chest X-ray may be ordered to evaluate whether pneumonia is present.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/10/2014

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