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Streptococcus agalactiae, also called S. agalactiae or group B Streptococcus, is a bacterium that can be found naturally in the body without causing any symptoms. This bacterium can be found mainly in the gastrointestinal and urinary systems and, in the case of women, in the vagina.
Due to its ability to colonize the vagina without causing symptoms, S. agalactiae infection is more frequent in pregnant women, and this bacterium can be transmitted to the baby at delivery, and this infection is also considered one of the most common. frequent in newborns.
In addition to the infection happening in pregnant women and newborns, the bacteria can also proliferate in people over 60, obese or who have chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart problems or cancer, for example.
Symptoms of Streptococcus agalactiae
The presence of S. agalactiae is usually not noticed, as this bacterium remains in the body without causing any change. However, due to the weakening of the immune system or the presence of chronic diseases, for example, this microorganism can proliferate and cause symptoms that may vary according to where the infection occurs, such as:
- Fever, chills, nausea and nervous system changes, which are more frequent when the bacteria are present in the blood;
- Cough, difficulty breathing, and chest pain, which can occur when the bacteria reach the lungs;
- Swelling in a joint, redness, increased local temperature, and pain, which happens when the infection affects the joint or bones;
Group B Streptococcus infection can happen to anyone, however it is more frequent in pregnant women, newborns, people over 60 years old and people who have chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, obesity or cancer, for example.
How is the diagnosis
Streptococcus agalactiae infection is diagnosed through microbiological tests, in which body fluids such as blood, urine or spinal fluid are analyzed.
In the case of pregnancy, the diagnosis is made from the collection of vaginal secretion with a specific swab, which is sent to the laboratory for analysis. In the case of a positive result, antibiotic treatment is given a few hours before and during delivery to prevent the bacteria from growing again quickly after treatment. Learn more about B Streptococcus in pregnancy.
It is important that the diagnosis and treatment of S. agalactiae in pregnancy is done correctly to prevent the baby from being infected at birth and complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis or death, for example.
Treatment for S. agalactiae
Treatment for S. agalactiae infection is done with antibiotics, usually using Penicillin, Vancomycin, Chloramphenicol, Clindamycin or Erythromycin, for example, which should be used as directed by the doctor.
When the bacteria reach bones, joints or soft tissues, for example, the doctor may recommend, in addition to the use of antibiotics, surgery to remove and sterilize the infection site.
In the case of S. agalactiae infection during pregnancy, the first treatment option indicated by the doctor is with Penicillin. If this treatment is not effective, the doctor may recommend the use of Ampicillin by the pregnant woman.