Group B Streptococci serotype distribution in pregnant women in Ghana: assessment of potential coverage through future vaccines

Trop Med Int Health. 2015 Nov;20(11):1516-1524. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12589.


Objective: Group B streptococcal (GBS) colonization of pregnant women can lead to subsequent infection of the new-born and potentially fatal invasive disease. Data on GBS colonization prevalence and serotype distribution from Africa are scarce, although GBS-related infections are estimated to contribute substantially to infant mortality. In recent years, GBS vaccine candidates provided promising results in phase I and II clinical trials. We aimed to assess the prevalence and serotype distribution of GBS in Ghana since this knowledge is a prerequisite for future evaluation of vaccine trials.

Methods: This double-centre study was conducted in one rural and one urban hospital in central Ghana, West Africa. Women in late pregnancy (≥35 weeks of gestation) attending the antenatal care clinic (ANC) provided recto-vaginal swabs for GBS testing. GBS isolates were analysed for serotype and antibiotic susceptibility. GBS-positive women were treated with intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP) according to current guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Results: In total, 519 women were recruited at both study sites, recto-vaginal swabs were taken from 509. The overall prevalence of GBS was 19.1% (18.1% in rural Pramso and 23.1% in urban Kumasi, restrospectively). Capsular polysaccharide serotype (CPS) Ia accounted for the most frequent serotype beyond all isolates (28.1%), followed by serotype V (27.1%) and III (21.9%). No resistance to Penicillin was found, resistances to second line antibiotics clindamycin and erythromycin were 3.1% and 1%, respectively.

Discussion: Group B Streptococcus serotype distribution in Ghana is similar to that worldwide, but variations in prevalence of certain serotypes between the urban and rural study site were high. Antibiotic resistance of GBS strains was surprisingly low in this study.

Keywords: EGB; SGB; Africa; Afrique; Estreptococo Grupo B; Group B Streptococcus; Streptococcus du groupe B; femmes enceintes; mujeres embarazadas; pregnant women; septicaemia; septicemia; septicémie; vaccine; África.