Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a bacterium present in around 35% of women. It doesn’t cause health issues for most people.

It can lead to diseases in newborns, like GBS disease. Older adults may also have other health issues, like There is a disease called diabetes., and may be affected by the GBS.

You should read this to learn more about how it can lead to meningitis, and what questions you should ask your doctor.

Language matters

Sex and gender are on the spectrum. We may use the terms “women” and “men” in this article to reflect the terms used to describe gender people. Your gender identity may not match how your body responds to this disease. Your doctor can help you understand how your circumstances will affect your diagnosis and treatment.

The GI tract and genital tracts are where the GBS resides.

Sometimes, the symptoms of GBS are not caused by the disease. Most people with the GBSbacteria show no symptoms.

When GBS does cause illness, it may lead to various infections. One possibility is meningitis, an infection of the tissues surrounding the brain and spinal column. Other possible infections include:

  • sepsis (infection of the blood)
  • pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
  • There are infections of skin and soft tissue.
  • Joint and bone infections.

There are very few Complications from the GBS in adults. Babies are more affected by issues like pneumonia and sepsis than other age groups.

GBS meningitis in newborns

Babies can be born with the growth of the GBSbacteria in the birth canal. Babies exposed to the disease may be at risk of developing diseases soon after birth.

There are risk factors for newborns.

  • a birthing parent who tested positive for GBS bacteria in the weeks before delivery
  • A parent had a high temperature during labor.
  • A parent who had a baby had a urinary tract infection.
  • labor with ruptured membranes that lasted 18 hours or longer

There are early and late onset GBS disease with newborns.

  • Early onset: The infection (meningitis, sepsis, pneumonia) begins within 7 days of birth. Exposure to GBS in the birth canal or other contact with the birthing parent in delivery is usually the cause.
  • Late onset: The infection, which is typically meningitis, begins a week to a few months after birth. Exposure to GBS from the mother or any other person who carries it can cause late onset GBS infection.

GBS meningitis in adults

Adults over the age of 65 are more likely to develop GBS-related problems.

They may have other health conditions that affect their health.

Early signs of GBS meningitis, a type of bacterial meningitis, tend to develop within 3 to 7 days after exposure. Symptoms may come on suddenly and not necessarily seem specific to any particular illness.

Meningitis symptoms in newborns include:

Meningitis symptoms in adults include:

When to contact a doctor

It is important to contact a doctor when you see a newborn with symptoms. Initial symptoms can be hard to spot, but can lead to seizures, coma, or even death.

If you want to contact a doctor, you should do it.

  • Symptoms come on suddenly.
  • you experience a stiff neck, There is a throbbing head., or There is confusion.
  • your newborn has a There is a high degree of There is a high degree of fever.. of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher
  • Your newborn has a large bulge.

Some people may experience serious consequences after recovering from the disease. If not treated, the disease can lead to death in a few hours.

Complications in infants

Some 4% to 6% of babies with GBS disease, including meningitis, will die from their infections. Those who recover may deal with complications like:

Complications in pregnant adults

Pregnant people don’t typically develop GBS meningitis. Instead, they may develop other GBS-related infections, like blood infections or post-delivery wound infections.

Other problems of pregnant people include:

Complications in non-pregnant adults

GBS meningitis and other related infections can be serious for older adults. About 1 in 20 adults with GBS infection die, particularly those with preexisting conditions.

If you or your child show signs of GBS meningitis, your doctor will likely order a blood test or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) test via spinal tap. Blood and spinal fluid are both sterile. If GBS is present in these fluids, it’s a sure sign of infection.

The results from these tests may take a while.

Treatment for meningitis involves taking various antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that it’s important to start antibiotic treatment as soon as possible.

Initial drugs may include ampicillin and gentamicin. Once an additional spinal tap shows the GBS has cleared, doctors may switch you or your child to penicillin G for another 14 days of treatment.

Your doctor will adjust treatment if your case is progressing or resolving.

Screening for GBS bacteria during late pregnancy (35 to 37 weeks) is key to prevention.

If the doctor thinks the baby is sick, he will suggest antibiotics during labor. penicillin is the most popular drug, but your doctor may suggest other drugs if you have an allergy.

Pregnant people who receive IV medications during labor have a 1 in 4,000 chance of passing on GBS disease to their babies. Without antibiotics, the chance increases to 1 in 200.

There is no vaccine against the disease. Antibiotics in oral form are not a good way to preventbacteria.

If you have had a previous case of the disease, you should speak with your doctor about any additional prevention measures that may help.

Most people recover from GBS meningitis. In newborns, the mortality rate is between 3% to 10% for early onset infection and between 1% and 6% for late onset infection.

The highest mortality rate for babies is 20%.

Recurrence is also a possibility in older adults. Some 4% of non-pregnant adults who deal with GBS infections and recover may go on to have another GBS infection within a year.

“The GBSbacteria don’t cause sickness in everyone. Older adults with certain health conditions are at the highest risk.”

Symptoms of GBS can come on suddenly and progress quickly. Meningitis can lead to serious problems and even death.

If you or your baby have any symptoms, you should contact your doctor. When treatment with medications starts as soon as possible, it can be effective.