Group B Strep Infection

  • Medical Author:
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What is the prognosis of a group B strep infection?

The prognosis of a GBS infection varies depending on various factors, including the patient's age and the presence of any underlying medical conditions. In the United States, the death rate (mortality rate) for babies with GBS infection is about 5%. Pregnant women who develop symptoms of GBS infection also have low mortality rates, as they tend to be otherwise healthy. Nonpregnant adults who develop invasive GBS infection tend to have higher mortality rates, ranging from 8%-47%, as this group of patients tend to be older and they frequently have serious underlying medical conditions.

Is it possible to prevent group B strep infection?

At this point in time, the best measure for preventing GBS infection is through routine screening during pregnancy. This testing has served to decrease the overall number of early onset GBS infections in newborns by about 80% since aggressive preventive measures were instituted in the 1990s. In pregnant women, routine screening for colonization with GBS is strongly recommended. This screening test is performed between 35-37 weeks' gestation. The test involves using a sterile swab to collect a sample from both the vaginal and rectal areas, with results usually available within 24-72 hours.

Antibiotic administration during labor to pregnant women colonized with GBS and for those with the risk factors outlined above can help prevent the transmission of GBS infection, and thus decrease the incidence of early onset GBS disease in newborns.

Although there is currently no licensed vaccine available for the prevention of GBS infection, there is research under way to develop one for use in the near future.


United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Group B Strep (GBS)." June 1, 2014. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/29/2016

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