Background: Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus, GBS), a leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in infants, can be transmitted vertically from mother to infant during passage through the birth canal. Detection of GBS colonization in perinatal women is a major strategy for the prevention of postpartum neonatal disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all women undergo vaginal-rectal screening for GBS colonization at 35-37 weeks of gestation. ChromID Strepto B (STRB) is a chromogenic GBS screening media on which GBS colonies appear pink or red, while other bacteria are either inhibited or form colonies in other colors. In this study, we compared STRB with a conventional GBS detection method using 5% sheep blood agar (BA) followed by a selective enrichment broth.
Methods: Anovaginal swabs were collected from 1425 women during weeks 35 to 37 of their pregnancies. The swabs were used to inoculate both STRB and BA plates after enrichment with selective Todd Hewitt Broth (THB). A GBS latex agglutination test was used to confirm the identity of isolates from each plate.
Results: GBS was recovered from 319 (22.4%) samples with one or both media: 318 on STRB compared to 299 using BA. One false negative was observed on STRB, and 20 false negatives were observed on BA. In addition, non-hemolytic GBS was recovered from 19 (6.0%) samples using STRB.
Conclusions: STRB offers effectiveness and convenience over BA for GBS screening in clinical laboratories. STRB produces fewer false negatives, has a higher detection rate and uses a simple color screen that is ideal for technician-level applications. We recommend STRB as the media of choice for GBS screening.