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Group B Strep Infection (cont.)

Exams and Tests

The physician will perform a physical examination to help identify where the infection is located. If pneumonia is suspected, a chest X-ray will be done and a sample of the sputum will be sent for culture. If bloodstream infection is being considered, blood will be drawn and sent to the laboratory to be cultured. If an abscess is suspected, a CT scan or MRI may be done. A needle may be placed in the abscess to get a sample for culture.

Infected bone (osteomyelitis) may be diagnosed by taking a small piece (biopsy) of the bone in the operating room. Osteomyelitis may also be diagnosed by X-rays or other imaging studies showing that part of the normal bone has been destroyed.

If meningitis is suspected, the physician will do a spinal tap. To do this, a needle is put in the lower back under sterile conditions and a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid is drawn off. Local anesthetic is used to make the patient comfortable during the spinal tap. The fluid is examined under the microscope to see if it has pus or visible bacteria. A sample of the fluid is cultured.

It is important to identify pregnant women who are colonized with group B strep so they can be treated before the baby enters the birth canal. To do this, the doctor swabs the inside of the vagina and/or rectum and sends the swab to the laboratory for culture. It is also possible for the woman to swab her own vagina and rectum and submit the specimen to her clinic or laboratory for testing.

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