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Clin Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;38(9):1203-8. Epub 2004 Apr 14.

Characterization of group B streptococci recovered from infants with invasive disease in England and Wales.

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Streptococcus and Diphtheria Reference Unit, Respiratory and Systemic Infection Laboratory, Health Protection Agency, Colindale, London, United Kingdom.


Group B streptococci (GBS) are a major cause of invasive disease in infants, with enhanced surveillance in England and Wales showing an incidence of 0.74 cases per 1000 live births and a mortality rate of 8%. Among 353 isolates obtained during enhanced surveillance, the predominant serotypes were III (48%), Ia (27%), and V (10%), and the remainder comprised Ib, II, IV, VI, and VII; 3% were not typable. Isolates from patients with early-onset disease had serotypes III (38%), Ia (32%), and V (13%), with late-onset disease having a higher incidence of type III (67%) strains. Patients infected with serotype III strains had a higher rate of meningitis, and those with type V strains had a higher mortality rate. Isolates were susceptible to penicillin and ampicillin, but 4% were resistant to erythromycin, and 91% were resistant to tetracycline. A trivalent vaccine containing capsular polysaccharides III, Ia, and V could theoretically provide coverage against 85% of the cases of GBS disease among infants in England and Wales.

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