Correlation of maternal antibody deficiency with susceptibility to neonatal group B streptococcal infection

N Engl J Med. 1976 Apr 1;294(14):753-6. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197604012941404.


We investigated the role of maternal antibody in neonatal Group B streptococcal infection with a radioactive antigen-binding assay employing a purified polysaccharide antigen with both Type III and Group B determinants. Serums from seven women who gave birth to infants who had invasive Group B streptococcal infection with Type III strains were all deficient in antibody. In contrast, serums from 22 of 29 pregnant Type III vaginal carriers whose infants were healthy contained antibody with a prevalence significantly different from that in women delivering infants with Type III disease (P less than 0.01). Three healthy neonates born to women with antibody in serums had demonstrable antibody in umbilical-cord serum. These data suggest that transplacental transfer of maternal antibody protects infants from invasive Group B streptococcal infection with Type III strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Carrier State / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / etiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / immunology*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / immunology
  • Pregnancy
  • Rabbits / immunology
  • Streptococcal Infections / etiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / immunology*
  • Vagina / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Immune Sera
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial