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.