Group B streptococcal disease in infants in the UK and Ireland: a surveillance study and case-control study

Group B streptococcal disease (GBSD) is the most common cause of severe, early onset neonatal disease (meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia).

Scientific version
  • Researchers:
    Dr Angus Nicholl, Dr Janet Rennie, Dr Paul Heath, Dr Petrou Stavros
  • Start Date:
    01 January 2000
  • Category:
    Surveillance
  • Location:
    St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK

Group B streptococcal disease (GBSD) is the most common cause of severe, early onset neonatal disease (meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia). The incidence, risk factors, morbidity, mortality and economic burden of disease in the UK are largely unknown.

Intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP) can reduce the incidence of GBSD. As a result of the implementation of IAP in other countries and an increasing awareness of GBSD in the UK, there is a call for national guidelines. Guidelines need to be evidence based, drawing on UK - specific data. These data will be obtained through:

  1. Active, prospective national surveillance of culture positive GBSD.
    This will be conducted through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit. Paediatricians will be asked to report cases. To provide completeness and validation, two extant microbiological reporting systems will be employed: microbiologists reporting cases of GBS to the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre and sending isolates to the Streptococcal Reference Laboratory.
  2. Active, prospective surveillance of clinical GBSD.
    Six large neonatal units will use a standardised case definition to estimate the additional amount of culture negative cases of GBSD.
  3. A case control study (CCS).
    This will recruit GBSD cases resident in London. Cases will be matched with 2 controls and data on the mother, delivery and neonatal period will be extracted from the case notes. Cases/ controls will be followed up again at 2 years of age to assess their long-term outcome.

These studies will contribute essential data toward a health economic evaluation of GBSD and an evidence based policy for prevention of GBSD.