Group B Strep Infection (cont.)
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Great strides have been made in reducing group B strep infections in mothers and infants. This has happened because doctors now test all pregnant women for group B strep by doing vaginal and rectal cultures. It is recommended that all pregnant women be tested for group B strep between 35-37 weeks of pregnancy. Women who carry group B strep are treated with intravenous antibiotics during labor. Women who plan to have cesarean sections do not need to be treated since the baby will not pass through the vagina. If a woman has not been tested before she is in labor, she may be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of group B strep infection in the baby, especially if the baby is premature, the mother has fever, or the water breaks >18 hours before delivery. If the mother has previously had an infant who was infected with group B strep or if group B strep is grown from the urine, she will be given antibiotics during labor regardless of what her rectal/vaginal cultures show.
As a result of using antibiotics during labor in colonized women, there has been a 65%-80% reduction in invasive disease of newborns. Currently, there are approximately four to six cases per 10,000 births.
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