Group B streptococcal disease in nonpregnant adults

Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Aug 15;33(4):556-61. doi: 10.1086/322696. Epub 2001 Jul 20.


Group B streptococcal (GBS) disease in nonpregnant adults is increasing, particularly in elderly persons and those with significant underlying diseases. Diabetes, neurological impairment, and cirrhosis increase risk for invasive GBS disease. Skin, soft-tissue, and osteoarticular infections, pneumonia, and urosepsis are common presentations. Meningitis and endocarditis are less common but associated with serious morbidity and mortality. Disease is frequently nosocomial and may be related to the placement of an iv catheter. Recurrent infection occurs in 4.3% of survivors. Capsular serotypes Ia, III, and V account for the majority of disease in nonpregnant adults. Although group B streptococci are susceptible to penicillin, minimum inhibitory concentrations are 4-fold to 8-fold higher than for group A streptococci. Resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin is increasing. The role of antibodies in protection against GBS disease in nonpregnant adults is unresolved. However, the immunogenicity of GBS vaccines being developed for prevention of neonatal disease should be assessed for adults who are at risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / physiopathology
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Streptococcus agalactiae* / classification