Group B streptococcus, a major cause of serious infectious diseases including sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia, has increased by about 60% among infants younger than 3 months in the Netherlands over the past 25 years despite the widespread use of prevention strategies, new research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases has found.
The findings suggest that this disturbing trend could be due the emergence of more virulent group B streptococcal strains and call for a renewed evaluation of preventive strategies to reduce neonatal disease.
Passed from mother to child during birth, group B streptococcus is the most common cause of infection in newborns. Guidelines for the prevention of disease have been widely adopted in high-income countries. But despite these efforts, the bacterium remains a leading cause of blood stream infections and meningitis worldwide, typically affecting babies younger than 7 days (early-onset) or infants up to 3 months of age (late-onset).
The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Group B streptococcus incidence rises significantly among newborns despite widespread adoption of prevention initiatives