GBS in Newborns
There are two forms of GBS infection in infants:
- Early-onset: About 80 percent of newborn infections are early-onset, and these are almost always transmitted from mother to child during delivery. Babies with early-onset GBS develop symptoms within seven days of birth, usually within the first six hours of life. Early-onset infection could show up in your baby as a form of pneumonia, sepsis (blood infection), or, less commonly, meningitis (infection of the membranes surrounding the brain).
- Late-onset: Infections in babies seven days to three months old are considered late-onset. These infections are contracted either at delivery or after birth from an outside source, including family members, visitors, or hospital staff who didn't wash their hands thoroughly. Late-onset infection usually takes the form of sepsis or meningitis.
Fortunately, doctors have made progress in preventing early-onset Group B strep infection in newborns. According to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of babies who developed early-onset GBS dropped 65 percent between 1993 and 1998.