An overview of the natural history of early onset group B streptococcal disease in the UK

Early Hum Dev. 2007 Mar;83(3):149-56. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2007.01.004. Epub 2007 Feb 14.


Clinicians need information on the risk of Early Onset Group B Streptococcal disease (EOGBS) for counselling pregnant women and to decide who would benefit most from antibiotic treatment during labour. We carried out a systematic review of the research literature and conducted meta-analyses to obtain estimates for the natural history of EOGBS that are representative of the UK population. The mean rate of colonisation for the UK was 14% and we found weak evidence that the prevalence is increasing over time. Maternal GBS colonisation was more likely in women who delivered preterm compared with at term. Just over one-third of babies born to colonised mothers become colonised with GBS at birth (36%), and 3% of colonised babies develop EOGBS bacteraemia. In the UK, EOGBS constitutes one-third of all early onset bacteraemia due to pathogens, in contrast to one-half in the USA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology