Diagnostic Tests for Group B Streptococcal Infections


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Tests and diagnosis discussion for Group B Streptococcal Infections: GBS disease is diagnosed when the bacterium is grown from cultures of sterile body fluids, such as blood or spinal fluid. Cultures take a few days to complete.1

GBS carriage can be detected during pregnancy by taking a swab of both the vagina and rectum for special culture. Physicians who culture for GBS carriage during prenatal visits should do so late in pregnancy (35-37 weeks’ gestation); cultures collected earlier do not accurately predict whether a mother will have GBS at delivery.

A positive culture result means that the mother carries GBS -- not that she or her baby will definitely become ill. Women who carry GBS should not be given oral antibiotics before labor because antibiotic treatment at this time does not prevent GBS disease in newborns. An exception to this is when GBS is identified in urine during pregnancy. GBS in the urine should be treated at the time it is diagnosed. Carriage of GBS, in either the vagina or rectum, becomes important at the time of labor and delivery -- when antibiotics are effective in preventing the spread of GBS from mother to baby.1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Group B Streptococcal Disease (GBS) General: DBMD

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