Epidemiology, Antimicrobial Resistance, and Virulence Determinants of Group B Streptococcus in an Australian Setting

Front Microbiol. 2022 Jun 14:13:839079. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.839079. eCollection 2022.


Streptococcus agalactiae [group B Streptococcus (GBS)] is a major neonatal pathogen and also causes invasive disease in non-pregnant adults. One hundred GBS isolates (n = 50 invasive disease and n = 50 colonizing pregnant women) were characterized using capsular serotyping by latex agglutination, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, and whole genome sequencing (WGS). All isolates were susceptible to penicillin, 32% were resistant to clindamycin. Of these, two isolates had reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone (MIC 0.75 mg/L) and were found to have unique alleles at pbp2X and pbp1A. Capsular serotypes Ia (18%), III (18%), Ib (14%), V (12%), and VI (11%) were most common and comparison of latex agglutination and capsular genotyping by WGS showed 71% agreement. Less common capsular genotypes VI-VIII represented 15% of isolates, indicating that a significant proportion may not be targeted by the proposed pentavalent or hexavalent vaccines under development. WGS is a useful aid in GBS surveillance and shows correlation to phenotypic serotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility data.

Keywords: Streptococcus agalactiae; antimicrobial resistance; epidemiology; group B Streptococcus; serotyping; surveillance; whole genome sequencing.