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Neonatal group B streptococcal infection in South Bedfordshire, 1993–1998


BACKGROUND Group B streptococcus (GBS) is now the leading cause of neonatal bacterial sepsis in the western world. The incidence of GBS infection in the United States has been determined, and guidelines produced and implemented for the prevention of neonatal infection. Neither incidence nor guidelines are currently established in the United Kingdom.

AIM To define the pattern of neonatal infection within one hospital (Luton and Dunstable Hospital).

METHOD A six year retrospective analysis was performed.

RESULT An incidence of early onset GBS of 1.15 per 1000 deliveries, comparable with that documented in the United States, was found.

Key messages

Key messages

  • An incidence of early onset GBS infection of 1.15 per 1000 live births has been shown, with increasing incidence over the six year period studied

  • The occurrence of late onset, as well as early onset, disease is associated with the presence of risk factors at the time of delivery

  • This high prevalence of disease in the population served by the Luton and Dunstable Hospital suggests that a screening or risk factor based approach to prevention would be cost effective

  • group B streptococcus
  • sepsis
  • neonatal
  • morbidity

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