Development of a group B streptococcal vaccine (GBS) vaccine is the most promising approach for the prevention of GBS infections in babies, given the potential adverse effects of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis as well as the need for effective prevention of both adult and late perinatal disease. There are numerous prevention strategies at this time but none are 100% effective in the eradication of neonatal early onset GBS disease and there are no preventative strategies for late onset disease. The need for a GBS vaccine is therefore, of utmost importance. Efforts applying genomics to GBS vaccine development have led to the identification of novel vaccine candidates. The publication of GBS whole genomes coupled with new technologies including multigenome screening and bioinformatics has also allowed researchers to overcome the serotype limitation of earlier vaccine preparations in the search of a universal effective vaccine against GBS. This review brings together the key arguments concerning the potential need of a GBS vaccine in developed countries and describes the current status with GBS epidemiology and microbiology in these countries.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Group B streptococcus; Neonatal infection; Prevention; Screening; Vaccine.
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