Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 2

What is group B streptococcus (group B strep)?

Group B streptococcus (group B strep) is a bacterium that causes life-threatening infections in newborn infants. Group B strep can also cause serious diseases in pregnant women, the elderly, and adults with other illnesses. The letter "B" refers to a classification of bacteria in the genus Streptococcus according to the makeup of the organism's cell wall. Do I need any special evaluation or treatment if I was potentially exposed to Group B strep? No. The Orange County Public Health department does not recommend treatment or testing for persons that were potentially exposed to someone with Group B strep. There is no need for testing or treating persons that were in class together, lived in the same dwelling, or had direct contact with someone that had Group B strep. What kind of illnesses does group B strep cause? In newborns, group B strep is the most common cause of sepsis (infection of the bloodstream) and meningitis (infection of the lining and fluid surrounding the brain) and a common cause of pneumonia. In adults, group B strep usually causes no symptoms. However, in rare cases, it can lead to serious bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and pneumonia, especially in people with weakened immune systems, persons without a spleen and other health problems, such as diabetes. Is that the same bacterium that doctors check for when they do a Strep Test? No. When doctors do a swab of a patients throat they are testing for Group A beta hemolytic strep. Group B strep is found more commonly in the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, vagina and rectum. How do people get infected with group B strep? Group B strep bacteria are different from many other types of bacteria that can cause disease. People often get "colonized" with group B strep. This means that they carry the bacteria in their bodies but are not infected and do not become sick. Adults can carry the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, genital tract, or urinary tract. About 10% to 30% of pregnant women are colonized with group B strep in the genital tract.

Colonization with group B strep is usually harmless. The bacteria can become deadly, though, if something happens that allows them to invade the bloodstream. In adults, weakened immunity resulting from cancer treatment or a chronic illness can prompt an infection. More often, pregnant women who carry the bacteria can unknowingly transmit group B strep to their newborns at birth. What is septicemia? Septicemia (also known as sepsis) is an infection of the bloodstream. It is a serious, lifethreatening infection that gets worse very quickly. It can arise from infections throughout the body, including infections in the lungs, abdomen, and urinary tract. How is group B strep infection diagnosed? Group B strep infection is diagnosed by a laboratory culture. Is there a vaccination for Group B strep? As of this time there is no vaccination for Group B strep. Who is at risk for group B strep infection? Adults with illnesses that weaken the immune system, such as diabetes or cancer, are at risk of infection with group B strep. An infant born to a woman who is carrying the bacteria can also be at risk. Some pregnant women are at more risk than others of having a baby who develops group B strep disease. If I believe I am at risk for Group B strep what should I do? For persons with chronic health conditions, immune deficiencies, pregnant individuals and others that may be at risk, they should discuss with their health care provider. References: 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/groupbstrep/index.html 2. Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE): http://www.dhpe.org/infect/strepb.html.