Streptococcus agalactiae, also commonly called Group B streptococci (GBS), is a gram positive, bacitracin resistant, beta-hemolytic cocci that normally colonizes the vagina. It can therefore be inhaled during vaginal delivery, posing a risk for infection, particularly meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia in neonates. Pregnant women are routinely screened for the presence of S. agalactiae in the vagina at 35-37 weeks gestation. Women with positive cultures can receive intrapartum prophylactic treatment with IV penicillin during delivery.
This gram negative, lactose fermenting bacilli can be passed to a neonate during birth. Its polysaccharide capsule, K antigen, surround some pathogenic strains of E. coli. These pathogenic strains of K antigen can cause neonatal meningitis and pneumonia.
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