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Are Certain Babies More Vulnerable to GBS Disease?




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This article is from the Group B Strep FAQ, by cheryls@wco.com (Cheryl Sandberg) with numerous contributions by others.

Are Certain Babies More Vulnerable to GBS Disease?

Premature babies, with their less-developed bodies and immune systems, are
more vulnerable to GBS infections than other older infants. Premature
babies infected with GBS are at higher risk for long-term complications
and/or death. Since most babies are born full term, however, full term
babies account for 70% of the cases of GBS disease in newborns.

The majority (80%) of the cases of GBS disease among newborns occur in the
first week of life. This is called *early onset* disease. Most of these
babies are ill within a few hours after birth. Babies who develop early
onset disease may have one or more of the following symptoms: problems with
temperature regulations, grunting sounds, fever, seizures, breathing
problems, unusual change in behavior, stiffness, or extreme limpness.

GBS disease may also develop in infants one week to several months after
birth. This is called *late onset* disease. Meningitis is more common with
late onset GBS disease. About half of late onset GBS disease can be linked
to a mother who is colonized with GBS; the source of infections for other
babies with late onset GBS disease in unknown. The baby who develops late
onset GBS disease may exhibit the following signs: stiffness, limpness,
inconsolable screaming, fever, or refusal to feed.

 

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