Molecular methods for rapid detection of group B streptococci

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2001 Jul;1(2):175-81. doi: 10.1586/14737159.1.2.175.


Group B streptococci (GBS) are an important cause of neonatal sepsis and meningitis. Implementation of selective intrapartum chemoprophylaxis based on either a screening-based approach or a risk-based approach has led to a substantial decrease in the morbidity and mortality of GBS disease. Current 'gold-standard' detection methods for GBS are selective broth cultures of combined vaginal and anal specimens collected at 35-37 week's gestation. Rapid immunological detection methods, including latex agglutination test, enzyme immunoassay and optical immunoassay, as well as hybridization-based test, are available. These methods are useful in rapid identification of heavily colonized women, but are unable to detect light GBS colonization due to poor sensitivity. Recent development of real-time PCR and fluorescence labeling technologies has provided new detection platforms for bacterial identification. GBS-specific PCR assays using these new technologies offer promising tools for sensitive and specific detection of GBS directly from clinical specimens. The application of these assays in the current prevention strategy will simplify the prevention practice and rationalize antibiotic use.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Chemistry, Clinical / methods*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / instrumentation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis*
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / genetics*