Group B streptococcal bacteriuria during pregnancy as a risk factor for maternal intrapartum colonization: a prospective cohort study

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Current evidence is inconclusive regarding the intrapartum administration of chemoprophylaxis, merely based on the presence of group B streptococcal (GBS) bacteriuria of any colony count, in the prevention of early-onset neonatal GBS infection. The aim of this study was to assess whether GBS bacteriuria is a risk factor for intrapartum colonization (IPC) regardless of urinary concentration or the results of late third-trimester rectovaginal screening cultures (RVSCs).


Six hundred and eight pregnant women, with urine specimens cultured between May 2011 and May 2013, were enrolled in this prospective cohort study. RVSCs were available for 582 women and intrapartum rectovaginal cultures for 246.


The prevalence of GBS bacteriuria and positive RVSCs was 10.8 and 16.5%, respectively. The frequency of IPC was 15.9% (39/246). Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of urine culture and of RVSC in predicting GBS IPC were 41, 94.7, 59.3 and 89.5%, and 76.9, 95.4, 76.9 and 95.4%, respectively. GBS bacteriuria was significantly associated with IPC, overall [relative risk (RR) 5.6] and in women with negative RVSC (RR 8.5), with bacteriuria <104 c.f.u. ml−1 (RR 5.9) or when both circumstances coexisted (RR 8.9). The urinary colony count was <104 c.f.u. ml−1 in 13 of the 16 women with GBS bacteriuria and IPC.


GBS bacteriuria is a risk factor for IPC, irrespective of urinary GBS concentration or of colonization status at late gestation. Therefore, microbiology laboratories should search, and report, GBS of any colony count in urine from pregnant women, and not only in the presence of ≥104 c.f.u. ml−1 as the 2010 CDC guidelines recommend.

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