What is Group B Strep?
Group B Streptococcus, or GBS, is a gram positive bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal, genital and urinary tract of healthy adults. Approximately 25% of all pregnant women are colonized with GBS. While Group B Streptococcus colonized mothers typically show no symptoms or adverse health effects, the bacteria can be passed to their child during labor and delivery.
Invasive Group B Streptococcal disease emerged in the 1970's as the leading cause of infectious disease in infants. Infants with early onset infection (
The fatality rate for infants with early-onset GBS disease is currently estimated at 4%-6%. Surviving infants may experience long-term disabilities including hearing loss, vision loss, or mental retardation.
If detected, transmission of Group B Streptococcus can be prevented by administration of antibiotic prophylaxis prior to delivery. Traditional culture has been the standard of care for most laboratories in North America for many years, but the significant potential for false negatives is creating a shift in testing.