Early-onset group B streptococcal infection after a combined maternal and neonatal group B streptococcal chemoprophylaxis strategy

Pediatrics. 2003 Mar;111(3):541-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.111.3.541.


Objective: In January 1995, a combined maternal and neonatal protocol for prevention of early-onset group B streptococcal (GBS) infection was implemented that consisted of a risk factor-based approach for maternal intrapartum chemoprophylaxis using ampicillin combined with a single intramuscular dose of penicillin given to all newborns within 1 hour of delivery. The objective of this study was to review the cases of early-onset GBS infections that occurred from 1995 to 1999 to identify factors associated with their continued occurrence despite implementation of a GBS chemoprophylaxis protocol.

Methods: Infants <or=72 hours of age with early-onset GBS infection born at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas from January 1995 to December 1999 were identified through a prospective laboratory-based surveillance system. Maternal and infant medical records were reviewed for clinical and demographic data.

Results: There were 32 cases (0.47/1000 live births) of early-onset GBS infection for the 5-year period. This represented a 76% reduction compared with the rate from 1986 to 1994 (1.95/1000), when there was no protocol for GBS chemoprophylaxis. Thirteen cases (41%) did not have any identifiable maternal risk factor. Of the 19 cases (59%) with risk factors, maternal intrapartum fever was the most frequent (15 [79%]), followed by prematurity (6 [32%]) and prolonged rupture of membranes (6 [32%]). Among the 19 mothers with risk factors, 15 (79%) mothers received intrapartum chemoprophylaxis, and 12 (80%) of the 15 mothers had intrapartum fever. Only 33% of mothers with risk factors received >or=2 doses of intrapartum chemoprophylaxis, and among those with intrapartum fever, 25% received >or=2 doses. None of the 32 infants with early-onset GBS infection received the combination of intrapartum ampicillin and postnatal penicillin.

Conclusions: A combined obstetric and neonatal chemoprophylaxis protocol significantly reduced early-onset GBS infection. Maternal intrapartum fever was the most frequent risk factor associated with failure of chemoprophylaxis.

MeSH terms

  • Ampicillin / administration & dosage*
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / adverse effects
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Female
  • Fever / diagnosis
  • Fever / epidemiology
  • Fever / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control
  • Penicillins / administration & dosage*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Sepsis / epidemiology*
  • Sepsis / prevention & control*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Failure


  • Penicillins
  • Ampicillin