Epidemiology and bacterial characteristics of invasive group B streptococcus disease: a population-based study in Japan in 2010-2020

Epidemiol Infect. 2022 Oct 7:150:e184. doi: 10.1017/S0950268822001534.


This is the first report on a population-based prospective study of invasive group B streptococcus (GBS) disease among children aged <15 years conducted over a period of 11 years in Japan. This study investigated the incidence and clinical manifestations of invasive GBS disease in children in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, and analysed the serotypes and drug susceptibility of GBS strains isolated during the study period. Overall, 127 episodes of invasive GBS disease were reported in 123 patients. Of these, 124 were observed in 120 patients aged <1 year, and the remaining three episodes were reported in a 9-year-old child and two 14-year-old children with underlying disease. For patients aged <1 year, the incidence rate per 1000 live births was 0.24 (0.15-0.36). The incidences of early-onset disease and late-onset disease were 0.04 (0.0-0.09) and 0.17 (0.08-0.25), respectively. The rate of meningitis was 45.2%, and the incidence of GBS meningitis was higher than that of other invasive diseases among children in Japan. Of the 109 patients for whom prognosis was available, 7 (6.4%) died and 21 (19.3%) had sequelae. In total, 68 strains were analysed. The most common were serotype III strains (n = 42, 61.8%), especially serotype III/ST17 strains (n = 22, 32.4%). This study showed that the incidence of invasive GBS disease among Japanese children was constant during the study period. Because of the high incidence of meningitis and disease burden, new preventive strategies, such as GBS vaccine, are essential.

Keywords: Group B streptococcus; MLST; Streptococcus agalactiae; invasive group B streptococcus disease; serotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Serogroup
  • Streptococcal Infections* / epidemiology
  • Streptococcal Infections* / microbiology
  • Streptococcus agalactiae*