Screening-based and Risk-based Strategy for the Prevention of Early-onset Group B Streptococcus/Non-group B Streptococcus Sepsis in the Neonate: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2020 Aug;39(8):740-748. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002674.


Background: Screening-based and risk-based strategies are the 2 strategies for preventing group B streptococcus (GBS) diseases in neonates. We aimed to compare the effects of these 2 strategies in reducing the incidence of early-onset GBS sepsis (GBS-EOS) and their effects on the incidence of non-GBS sepsis.

Methods: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science and The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for the period from January 1, 1996, to December 31, 2018. Randomized controlled trials and cohort studies that compared the effects of risk-based and screening-based strategies were eligible for the meta-analysis. The I statistic was used for assessing the statistical heterogeneity across studies. Pooled relative risks (RRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the random effects model.

Results: There were 18 cohort studies comparing the incidence of GBS-EOS between the 2 strategies, involving a total of 604,869 newborns and 791 GBS-EOS cases. The heterogeneity across studies was moderate (I = 45%), and the pooled analysis yielded a 55% decreased risk of GBS-EOS for screening-based versus risk-based strategy (RR = 0.45; 95% CI: 0.34-0.59). For total early onset non-GBS sepsis (non-GBS-EOS), 7 studies with low heterogeneity (I = 18%) had a pooled RR of 0.91 (95% CI: 0.74-1.11), whereas for ampicillin resistant Escherichia coli-EOS, a subgroup of non-GBS-EOS, 3 studies with very low heterogeneity (I = 0%) had a pooled RR of 1.28 (95% CI: 0.74-2.21) for screening-based strategy compared with risk-based strategy.

Conclusions: Compared with risk-based strategy, screening-based prophylaxis was associated with a reduced risk of GBS-EOS.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Neonatal Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Neonatal Sepsis / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Streptococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Streptococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification