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Key messages

  • Maternal streptococcus agalactiae, or Group B streptococcus (GBS) colonisation, can lead to early onset sepsis (EOS) infection in the baby and associated morbidity.
  • Identifying women who are at risk of having a baby with GBS enables treatment to be given during labour to reduce the risk of transmission of infection to the baby.
  • There is limited high quality scientific evidence and a lack of expert consensus on whether a risk based or a universal screening approach should be used.
  • Intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP) to women at risk of transmitting GBS to their baby, is associated with a reduction in (but does not eliminate) EOS. However it does not prevent late onset sepsis (LOS).
  • Treat all unwell babies for suspected sepsis, irrespective of maternal GBS status or adequate IAP.

GBS is a transient bacterium that is commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract, vagina and urethra in 15-25% of pregnant women (asymptomatic carriers of GBS).

GBS is transmitted to the baby during birth in approximately 1–2 per 1000 live births and can lead to serious infection in the baby.

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Get in touch

Maternity and Newborn Clinical Network
Safer Care Victoria
Maternity and Newborn Clinical Network
Safer Care Victoria

Version history

First published: June 2019

Last web update: June 2019

Review by: TBC

Uncontrolled when downloaded

Page last updated: 18 Jun 2019

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