Group B streptococcus bacterium

Group B streptococci are bacteria that occur in many people in the gut or in the vagina and cervix. In general this can not hurt. Babies can become infected during birth. In some cases this leads to disease symptoms. The disease can usually be treated well with antibiotics.

What are group B streptococcal infections?

Group B streptococcal infections (GBS) are common (1 in 5 people are carriers) but usually they do not cause disease. If you are a carrier of this disease, you can infect your child during the delivery. Fortunately, only 1 in 1000 children get sick because of this infection. This is called the GBS disease. Often the disease can be treated well with different antibiotics. Yet about 5% of children die from this disease.


Contamination takes place through direct contact, as is the case with childbirth. When you are a risk factor, you can be monitored during your pregnancy. If you do prove to be a carrier, you can opt to administer antibiotics to reduce the risk of contamination of your baby during delivery.

In the womb

Contamination can already occur in the uterus, after breaking the membranes. The bacteria can reach your baby through the amniotic fluid. The longer the membranes are broken, the greater the chance of contamination.

In the vagina

If there are Group B streptococci present in the vagina, your child may become infected during the phase of expulsion of the delivery.

After the birth

Your child can be infected by an adult in the first days after delivery. From about 12 weeks onwards, the chance of contamination decreases.

GBS disease

If your child has become ill, this will manifest itself in his breathing. A sick child breathes quickly and superficially and sometimes even stops breathing. Because of this he does not get enough oxygen, which makes him look blue, pale or gray. Maybe even feel weak and drowsy.
Fever or under temperature can indicate the GBS disease, but also do not want to drink and spit.


Infected children may become ill due to inflammation:

blood infection
Sometimes even inflammations can occur at the same time.

Contamination before birth

If your baby is already infected before birth, changes may occur in his heart action. Especially if the due date has already passed and the delivery is not yet announced.
Even if you get a fever during delivery, this can be a sign that he is infected.

Contamination long after birth

Your child can get a moaning breath. This can be a first occurrence of infection. It is therefore important to keep a close eye on the breathing of your child! Also his breathing can accelerate, he can get a different color and fever.


Research on GBS is not a standard study in pregnant women. GBS is common (20% of all pregnant women) but it causes sporadic serious consequences. There are factors that can increase the chance of infection. For example, due to premature broken membranes. In that case it is advisable to do a breeding of the sheath.


Subject to certain precautionary measures, it is not really possible to prevent GBS contamination.
In some cases, the child may be prescribed antibiotics from the pediatrician immediately after birth. In most cases, however, it is advised to keep an extra eye on the baby for the first 48 hours.

Video: Study Reveals New Mechanism Fueling Group B Strep Infection

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