Objective: Describe cerebrospinal fluid parameters in infants with culture-proven Group B streptococcal meningitis in the era of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis.
Study design: Cohort study of the first lumbar puncture from 13,495 infants cared for at 150 neonatal intensive care units. We compared cerebrospinal fluid parameters [white blood cell count, red blood cell count, glucose, and protein], demographics, and outcomes between infants with and without Group B streptococcal meningitis.
Results: We identified 46 infants with Group B streptococcal meningitis. The median cerebrospinal fluid white blood cell count was 271 cells/mm(3) for infants with Group B streptococcal meningitis and 6 cells/mm(3) for infants without meningitis (p=0.0001). Of the infants with Group B streptococcal meningitis, 9/46 (20%) had negative blood cultures. Meningitis complicated 22/145 (15%) of episodes of early-onset Group B streptococcal sepsis and 13/23 (57%) of episodes of late-onset Group B streptococcal sepsis.
Conclusions: Group B streptococcal meningitis occurs in the presence of negative blood cultures. In hospitalized infants who undergo a lumbar puncture, Group B streptococcal sepsis is frequently complicated by GBS meningitis.