Objectives: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) (Streptococcus agalactiae) is a pathogen of growing importance in adults. The objective of this study was to describe the features of invasive infections by GBS in non-pregnant adults.
Methods: GBS infections were reported to the national reference centre for streptococci. Clinical information was abstracted from questionnaires. Capsular typing, identification of the hypervirulent CC-17 clone, and antibiotic susceptibility testing were performed for all GBS isolates. Multi-locus sequence typing and assignment to clonal complexes (CCs) was performed on a representative sample of 324 isolates.
Results: In total, 1960 GBS invasive infections were analysed from 2007 to 2019. The median age at onset was 71 years old (range 18-103). The main manifestation was bacteraemia without focus (54.5%). Meningitis was more frequent in patients under 40 (26/180, 14.4% versus 78/1780, 4.4%, p < 0.0001). Capsular types Ia, Ib, II, III and V accounted for 91.0% of the cases (1786/1960). CC-1, -10, -17, -19 and -23 accounted for 96.3% (312/324) of the cases. Capsular type III and CC-17 were overrepresented in meningitis (38/104, 36.5%, p < 0.001 and 22/104, 21.2%, p 0.01, respectively). All isolates were susceptible to β-lactam antibiotics. Resistance to erythromycin (32.7%) and clindamycin (26.3%) remained stable, whereas decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones increased, reaching 2.7% in 2019 (p for trend 0.002).
Conclusions: This work highlights the susceptibility of the elderly to GBS infections and differences in the clinical manifestations according to the patients’ age and GBS type. In agreement with worldwide reports on emerging multidrug-resistant GBS, it reinforces the need for a continued surveillance of GBS epidemiology.