What is group B streptococcus (group B strep)?

group strep streptococcus
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What is group B streptococcus (group B strep)?

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Group B streptococcus (group B strep) is a bacterium that causes life-threatening infections in newborn infants. Group B strep can also cause serious diseases in pregnant women, the elderly, and adults with other illnesses. The letter “B” refers to a classification of bacteria in the genus Streptococcus according to the makeup of the organism’s cell wall. What kinds of illnesses does group B strep cause? In newborns, group B strep is the most common cause of sepsis (infection of the bloodstream) and meningitis (infection of the lining and fluid surrounding the brain) and a common cause of pneumonia. Group B strep disease in newborns usually occurs in the first week of life (“early- onset”). Babies can also get a slightly less serious “late-onset” form of group B strep disease that develops a week to a few months after birth. In adults, group B strep usually causes no symptoms. However, in rare cases, it can lead to serious bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, skin infectio