Reductions in neonatal listeriosis: "Collateral benefit" of Group B streptococcal prophylaxis?

J Infect. 2016 Mar;72(3):317-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2015.12.015. Epub 2016 Jan 6.


Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that declines in Listeria monocytogenes in infants are related to declines in rates of early-onset Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections associated with widespread prophylaxis using agents with Listeria activity.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis using a national administrative database Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS). We searched for ICD-9 codes for Listeriosis in infants <30 days old and for early-onset GBS infection of any kind in infants <5 days old during the study period.

Results: We identified 183 cases of Listeriosis in infants <30 days in the PHIS database from 1992 to 2013. We noted a statistically significant decline in case rates over the years studied: 4.78 cases per 10,000 admissions (1992-1995) to 2.24 (1996-2002) to 1.31 from (2003-2013) (p < 0.0001). Case rates of early-onset GBS dropped significantly over the study period: 30.10 cases per 1000 admissions (1992-1995) to 21.70 (1996-2002) to 18.57 (2003-2013) (p < 0.0001). There was a statistically significant correlation between yearly rates of Listeriosis and early-onset GBS (rho: 0.53; p = 0.01).

Conclusions: These results support the hypothesis of a "collateral benefit" to widespread GBS prophylaxis and further support the position that empiric antibiotic regimens for febrile infants may no longer require Listeria activity.

Keywords: Ampicillin; Group B streptococcus; Infants; Listeria monocytogenes; Listeriosis; Streptococcus agalactiae.

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Listeriosis / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Streptococcus
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / drug effects*