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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 when she is giving birth. This can cause meningitis in the baby.

    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 made the disease less common. The guidelines include:2

    • Screening all pregnant women at 35 to 37 weeks.
    • Giving antibiotics during labor to women who have the bacteria.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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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