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Open Forum Infect Dis. 2018 Nov 30;5(12):ofy320. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofy320. eCollection 2018 Dec.

Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Serotype Distribution of Group B Streptococcus Colonization in HIV-Infected Pregnant Women Living in Belgium: A Prospective Cohort Study.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Pierre, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium.
Institute for Medical Immunology, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Gosselies, Belgium.
Department of Pediatrics, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Pierre, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium.
Laboratoire Hospitalier Universitaire de Bruxelles-Universitair Laboratorium Brussel (LHUB-ULB) Microbiology Department, Pôle Hospitalier Universitaire de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, National Reference Center for Group B Streptococcus, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sart-Tilman, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium.
Department of Obstetrics, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Pierre, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Brussels, Belgium.



Group B streptococcus (GBS) infection is a leading cause of severe neonatal infection. Maternal GBS carriage during pregnancy is the main risk factor for both early-onset and late-onset GBS disease. High incidence of GBS infection has been reported in HIV-exposed but -uninfected infants (HEU). We aimed to determine the prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors for GBS colonization in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected pregnant women living in Belgium.


Between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2013, HIV-infected (n = 125) and -uninfected (n = 120) pregnant women had recto-vaginal swabs at 35-37 weeks of gestation and at delivery for GBS detection. Demographic, obstetrical, and HIV infection-related data were prospectively collected. GBS capsular serotyping was performed on a limited number of samples (33 from HIV-infected and 16 from HIV-uninfected pregnant women).


There was no significant difference in the GBS colonization rate between HIV-infected and -uninfected pregnant women (29.6% vs 24.2%, respectively). HIV-infected women were more frequently colonized by serotype III (36.4% vs 12.5%), and the majority of serotype III strains belonged to the hypervirulent clone ST-17. Exclusively trivalent vaccine serotypes (Ia, Ib, and III) were found in 57.6% and 75% of HIV-infected and -uninfected women, respectively, whereas the hexavalent vaccine serotypes (Ia, Ib, II, III, IV, and V) were found in 97% and 100%, respectively.


HIV-infected and -uninfected pregnant women living in Belgium have a similar GBS colonization rate. A trend to a higher colonization rate with serotype III was found in HIV-infected women, and those serotype III strains belong predominantly to the hypervirulent clone ST17.


HIV infection; Streptococcus agalactiae; multilocus sequence typing; pregnancy; serotype

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