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Some people carry group B streptococcus in their body but
don't get sick. Without knowing it, a woman who has group B streptococci in her
birth canal or in her colon can pass the bacteria to her baby during delivery,
causing the baby to develop
Meningitis caused by these bacteria also occurs in
adults older than 60, especially those with long-term conditions such as
diabetes, cancer, alcohol dependence, and liver or kidney failure. Group B
streptococci cause meningitis in about 15% of the people who get bacterial
meningitis in the United States every year.1
New guidelines for prevention of group B streptococci have decreased the
incidence of disease; the guidelines include recommending prenatal screening of
all pregnant women at 35 to 37 weeks and giving antibiotics during labor to
women who have the bacteria.2
Roos KL, Tyler KL (2012). Meningitis, encephalitis,
brain abscess, and empyema. In DL Longo et al., eds., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed., vol. 2,
pp. 3410–3434. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Schrag S, et al. (2002). Prevention of perinatal group
B streptococcal disease: Revised guidelines from CDC. MMWR, 51(RR-11): 1–22.
December 8, 2010
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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