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Obstet Gynecol. 1994 Oct;84(4):496-500.

Neonatal group B streptococcal sepsis during 2 years of a universal screening program.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver.



To assess the feasibility and efficacy of a protocol for universal screening for group B streptococci combined with selective intrapartum prophylaxis at a teaching hospital.


This is a descriptive study of experience with a standardized protocol in which patients were screened at 26-28 weeks with a rectal and genital culture placed directly in selective media. As risk factors, we used clinical chorioamnionitis, preterm birth, and rupture of the membranes greater than 12 hours. Participants were all women receiving prenatal care at our hospital. Major outcomes were compliance and neonatal sepsis due to group B streptococci.


The prevalence of rectal and genital group B streptococci was 18.5% of 3721 screened women. Of culture-positive women, 35% developed risk factors (9% chorioamnionitis, 13% preterm birth, and 13% membrane rupture greater than 12 hours at term). With strict application of criteria, the compliance rate in administering indicated prophylaxis was 80.3%. Of women receiving prophylaxis, 42% had the first dose for 4 hours or less before delivery. There were five cases of group B streptococcal neonatal sepsis, resulting from either protocol violations, protocol failures, or both. Compared to the historic rate of group B streptococcal sepsis of 1.5 per 1000 births at our hospital, the rate in these 2 years was 1.0 per 1000 (1.6 per 1000 in the first year and 0.5 per 1000 in the second).


It is feasible to conduct such a protocol, but compliance is only moderately good because the algorithm is complex. The protocol is not foolproof in preventing neonatal group B streptococcal sepsis, as there are protocol failures and violations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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