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Meningitis and Group B Streptococci - Topic Overview

Some people carry group B streptococcus bacteria in their body but don't get sick. Without knowing it, a woman who has group B streptococci in her birth canal or in her colon can pass the bacteria to her baby during delivery, causing the baby to develop meningitis.

Meningitis caused by these bacteria also occurs in adults older than 60, especially those with long-term conditions such as diabetes, cancer, alcohol dependence, and liver or kidney failure. Group B streptococci cause meningitis in about 15% of the people who get bacterial meningitis in the United States every year.1

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New guidelines for prevention of group B streptococci have decreased the incidence of disease. The guidelines include recommending prenatal screening of all pregnant women at 35 to 37 weeks and giving antibiotics during labor to women who have the bacteria.2

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: December 06, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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