Screening and management of maternal colonization with Streptococcus agalactiae: an Italian cohort study

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2016 Mar;29(6):911-5. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2015.1023188. Epub 2015 Mar 27.


Introduction: Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B streptococcus [GBS]) is the most common cause of sepsis and meningitis in infants <3 months of age. Intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP) is effective in preventing the transmission of GBS to newborns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines suggest vaginal and rectal cultures to assess GBS colonization between 35 and 37 weeks' gestation.

Methods: Between July and December 2013, we identified 535 women admitted to the Obstetric and Gynecology Unit of Cardarelli Hospital (Campobasso, Italy) for delivery. We evaluated the indications for IAP, complete execution of IAP, and neonatal outcomes.

Results: Our sample included 468 women and 475 live births. Correct screening for GBS was executed in 241 cases (51.5%), the number of women colonized was 96 (30.2%), and 136 women had indications to receive IAP, but only 68 (50%) received adequate treatment.

Conclusions: GBS colonization status should be determined by collecting both vaginal and rectal specimens at 35-37 weeks' gestation. Inadequate screening for GBS and incorrect IAP led to an increased incidence of early-onset disease in newborns. Local public health agencies should promote surveillance and educational programs to prevent neonatal GBS infections.

Keywords: Early-onset disease; GBS; Streptococcus agalactiae; intrapartum care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Italy
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis*
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification*
  • Young Adult