In the U.S., Group B Streptococcus (GBS) remains a leading cause of early onset neonatal sepsis. Rates of maternal colonization have not changed, but universal antenatal screening at 35-37 weeks along with the use of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP) has resulted in a decrease of early onset disease.1,2Challenges remain, including:
- Risk-based IAP exposes 65-85% of GBS-negative women with risk factors to antibiotics. This has been linked to emergence of resistant strains3
- Up to 50% false negatives when testing with agar alone4
(1) CDC. (2010). Prevention of Perinatal Group B Streptococcal Disease, Revised Guidelines. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol.59.
(2) ACOG, A.C. (2011). Prevention of Early-Onset Group B Streptococcal Disease in Newborns. Committee Opinion, 1.
(3) Alfa, M. J. (Sept. 2010). Real-Time PCR Assay provides reliable assessment of intrapartum carriage of group B streptococcus. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 3095-3099.
(4) Paolucci, M. E. (2012). How can the microbiologist help in diagnosing neonatal sepsis? International Journal of Pediatrics, 14.