Group B Strep Infection (cont.)
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Group B Strep Infection Symptoms and Signs
Group B strep may cause severe or fatal infections in newborn infants. Early-onset disease is the most serious. The bacteria may cause pneumonia or bloodstream infection (sepsis) or may infect the lining tissues of the brain, causing meningitis. Infected newborns are listless, don't feed well, and may have a condition called jaundice. Jaundice causes the skin and membranes to look yellowish. Infected babies have trouble breathing and may have low blood pressure. Even with the best of care, 5%-10% of babies with early-onset infections die. Babies who have low birth weights are at highest risk for death. Meningitis is a particularly severe manifestation of the infection, with 25%-50% of survivors having permanent brain damage.
Infants who become infected later in life (after 1 week of age) have late-onset disease. Although the infections can occur as late as 3 months after birth, most late-onset infections occur at about 3 weeks of age. Although usually less severe than early-onset infection, late-onset infection can sometimes cause sepsis, pneumonia, infected bones, seizures, and meningitis. Infected babies become listless, stop feeding well, and have fever. If treated promptly, late-onset disease is fatal in fewer than 3% of babies.
Pregnant women who are infected have fever, abdominal pain, and/or low blood pressure. The infection may cause a miscarriage, stillbirth, or pre-term labor. Infection may occur before labor or as late as 48 hours after delivery.
In non-pregnant adults, group B strep causes bloodstream infection, pneumonia, abscesses, or infections of the bone (osteomyelitis). People with bloodstream infections usually have fever and aches, and they may have low blood pressure. Bloodstream infections may lead to infection of the heart valves (endocarditis). Pneumonia causes shortness of breath and fever with cough. Abscesses are local collections of pus and may occur deep in the abdomen.
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