Persistence of group B Streptococcus vaginal colonization and prevalence of hypervirulent CC-17 clone correlate with the country of birth: a prospective 3-month follow-up cohort study

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2020 Aug 18. doi: 10.1007/s10096-020-04011-6. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32812077.


To identify factors associated with vaginal colonization and persistence by group B Streptococcus (GBS) and by the hypervirulent neonatal CC-17 clone in late pregnancy and after delivery, a multicentre prospective observational cohort with 3-month follow-up was established in two university hospitals, Paris area, France. Pregnant women were recruited when antenatal screening for GBS vaginal colonization at 34-38 weeks of gestational age was positive. Vaginal samples were analysed by conventional culture methods at antenatal screening, delivery, and 21 and 60 days following delivery. Identification of the hypervirulent neonatal GBS CC-17 was performed. Colonization was defined as persistent when all vaginal samples were positive for GBS. A total of 754 women were included. GBS vaginal colonization was persistent in 63% of the cases (95% CI 59%-67%). Persistent colonization was more likely in women born in Sub-Saharan Africa compared with women born in France (OR = 1.88, 95% CI 1.05-3.52), and GBS CC-17 was overrepresented in women born in Sub-Saharan Africa (OR = 2.09, 95% CI 1.20-3.57). Women born in Sub-Saharan Africa are at higher risk for GBS vaginal persistence than women born in France. This observation correlates with an increased prevalence of the hypervirulent GBS CC-17 in the former group, which likely reflect variations linked to ethnicity and vaginal community-state types and might account for the increased susceptibility of black neonates to GBS infections.