Group B Streptococcal Colonization Among Pregnant Women in Delhi, India

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Little is known regarding maternal group B streptococcal (GBS) colonization prevalence and capsular (CPS) serotype distribution among pregnant women in India. The objective of this prospective cohort study was to determine GBS recto-vaginal colonization prevalence in pregnant women at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Delhi, India.


Literature review identified reports from India assessing GBS colonization prevalence in pregnant women. Rectal and vaginal swabs were inoculated into Strep B Carrot Broth (Hardy Diagnostics, Santa Maria, CA) and subcultured onto GBS Detect plates (Hardy Diagnostics, Santa Maria, CA). Isolates were serotyped using ImmuLex Strep-B latex kits (Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark).


Thirteen studies were identified citing GBS colonization prevalence during pregnancy as 0.47%–16%. Among 300 pregnant women (mean age: 26.9 years; mean gestation: 34 weeks) enrolled (August 2015 to April 2016), GBS colonization prevalence was 15%. Fifteen percent of women had vaginal only, 29% had rectal only and 56% had both sites colonized. CPS types were Ia (13.3%), Ib (4.4%), II (20%), III (22.2%), V (20%) and VII (6.7%); 13.3% were nontypable. Fetal loss in a prior pregnancy at ≥20-weeks gestation was more common in colonized than noncolonized women (15.6% vs. 3.5%; P = 0.004). Employing recent census data for the birth cohort and estimating that 1%–2% of neonates born to colonized women develop early-onset disease, at least 39,000 cases of early-onset disease may occur yearly in India.


Using optimal methods, 15% of third trimester pregnant women in India are GBS colonized. A multivalent vaccine containing 6 CPS types (Ia, Ib, II, III, V and VII) would encompass ~87% of GBS carried by pregnant women in India.

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