Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Infections Follow-up

Updated: Apr 21, 2021
  • Author: Christian J Woods, MD, FACP, FCCP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Deterrence/Prevention

Both chemoprophylaxis and immunoprophylaxis have been studied as a means to prevent group B streptococcal infection in neonates.

Although a group B streptococcal vaccine to prevent infection in women of childbearing age has been studied, an FDA–licensed vaccine is not yet available. Investigational vaccine studies are underway.

Chemoprophylaxis has been shown to be efficacious in neonates. A significant decline in neonatal infections over the past decade may be a result of this national standard.

The only approach for preventing group B streptococcal infection in nonpregnant adults is to adhere to infection control practices, as a significant number of these infections are nosocomial. The percentage of infections that can be prevented is unknown, as single nosocomial cases are common but a clustering of cases is rare.

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Complications

Group B streptococcal infection in healthy women is usually amenable to therapy without major sequelae.

Neonatal infection, which still results in significant morbidity and mortality, has become less common and is more likely to have a better outcome because of chemoprophylaxis and early recognition of infection in infants.

Group B streptococcal infection in the nonpregnant adult carries a high risk for morbidity and mortality, even with early and appropriate therapy. The prognosis may be improved with a high index of clinical suspicion, initiation of early therapy after cultures are obtained, and procurement of an appropriate surgical opinion and adequate surgical intervention, when necessary.

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Prognosis

Group B streptococcal infection in healthy women carries an excellent prognosis. In neonates, the infection carries a better prognosis than it once did but still results in significant morbidity and mortality. Nonpregnant adults with group B streptococcal infection are typically elderly with comorbid conditions; therefore, high mortality rates are inherent in those who develop infection.

Nonpregnant adults who survive group B streptococcal infection typically retain the underlying risk factor that originally placed them at risk for infection; therefore, the long-term prognosis in these patients is still poor.

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