What Is Group B Strep?

Group B Strep is shorthand for Group B Streptococcus, a bacteria which can cause a life threatening infection in newborn babies. The infection, called Group B streptococcal septicemia, largely strikes newborns as they exit the birth canal of infected mothers. A smaller group of newborns contracts Group B Strep between 7 to 90 days after delivery.

Doctors are particularly concerned about women who are carriers of Group B Streptococcal bacteria or women who have not been tested for Group B Strep. Although Group B Strep is not harmful to adults or children, the bacteria is dangerous for very dangerous for newborn babies. As a result, hospitals will provide mothers with an antibiotic prior to delivery to provide protection for the newborn.

The relevant answer to the question — what is group b strep — is that it is something all pregnant women should get tested for prior to labor. The March of Dimes states that one in four women are positive carriers for Group B Strep and affected mothers may not show any symptoms. Group B Strep may also be dangerous for older patients and patients with serious diseases. Healthy children and healthy adults do not need to worry about group b strep.

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