Article Text

other Versions

Group B streptococcal disease in portuguese infants younger than 90 days
  1. Maria Teresa Neto (teresaneto{at}
  1. Dona Estefânia Hospital, Portugal


    Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the most common isolate in mother-related infection in newborns.

    Aims: To evaluate the epidemiology of GBS infection in the first 90 days after birth; to determine if prophylaxis for early-onset neonatal GBS infection can be based only on risk factors.

    Design: National epidemiologic surveillance.

    Methods and Patients: Between April 2001 and March, 2005, active, systematic, voluntary, national surveillance was performed through the Portuguese Paediatric Surveillance Unit. Case definition: any infant <90 days of age with GBS positive culture in any normally sterile site - blood, CSF, joint aspirate. Early-onset infection defined as in the first 6 full days after birth.

    Results: 242 cases were reported (estimated cumulated incidence 0.54/1000live births [95%CI 0.47 - 0.61]). Infection occurred before day 7 in 194 babies (81%); 13% presented between day 7 and 28; 6% between day 28-90. The incidence of early-onset infection was 0.44/1000LB; 196 were term infants (81%), 160 of whom became ill before day 7; only 35 (22%) of these had one or more risk factors for infection. Overall, there were 229 positive blood cultures; 46 newborns had meningitis and 48 pneumonia. Mortality was 6.6% (16/242), was similar for early (6.7%) and late-onset infection (6.7%), but varied by gestation - 4.6% for term infants, 15.2% for preterm and 18% for babies born <1500g. Conclusions: GBS infection is predominantly an early infection of the term infant. Mortality is higher in preterm and VLBW infants. GBS prophylaxis based on risk factors would leave untreated 78% of term babies who will present with early-onset disease.

    • Epidemiology
    • Group B Streptococcal disease
    • Newborn
    • Paediatric Surveillance Unit

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

    Linked Articles

    • Fantoms
      Martin Ward Platt, Deputy Editor