Dr. Agnieszka Zawislak

Patient information

Group B streptococcus infection (GBS)

GBS is a common bacterium; up to 30% of adults in the UK are the carriers without any symptoms or side-effects. During pregnancy GBS can cause maternal infection, most commonly urine tract or vaginal infections, these are easily treated and rarely serious. GBS can also cause infection in newborn babies before, during or shortly after birth. There are two types of GBS disease in newborn: early and late-onset. Roughly 80% of GBS disease is early-onset, occurring in the first 6 days of life and usually apparent at birth. Early-onset GBS disease is normally characterised by the rapid development of breathing problems associated with blood poisoning. Late-onset disease, which usually presents as GBS meningitis, occurs in babies between the age of 1 week and 1 month, rarely, up to age 3 months. After age 3 months, GBS infection in babies is extremely rare. GBS is also a recognised cause of preterm delivery, stillbirths and late miscarriages. Testing pregnant women for GBS at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy allows to offer antibiotics in labour to GBS positive women and will prevent most of GBS infection in newborn babies.

GBS is not a sexually transmitted disease and treatment of the woman and of her partner does not prevent re-colonisation.

We offer GBS testing recommended by the GBS Support Group. The test is simple and painless; the results are available within 7 days.

For more information about GBS follow this link