Streptococcus agalactiae Carriage Among Pregnant Women Living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Over a Period of Eight Years

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) carriage by pregnant women is the primary risk factor for early-onset GBS neonatal sepsis. Intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis (IAP) can prevent this transmission route, and two main approaches are recommended to base the selection of pregnant women to be submitted to IAP: the risk-based and the culture-based strategies. In Brazil, compliance to such recommendations is poor, and not much is known about GBS carriage. In the present study, 3,647 pregnant women living in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, were screened for GBS anogenital colonization, over a period of 8 years (2008±2015). GBS was detected in 956 (26.2%) of them, and presence of vaginal discharge was the only trait associated with a higher risk for GBS colonization. Serotypes Ia (257; 37.3%) and II (137; 19.9%) were the most frequent among 689 (72.1% of the total) GBS isolates evaluated, followed by NT isolates (84;12.1%), serotype Ib (77; 11.1%), V (63; 9.1%), III (47; 6.8%) and IV (24; 3.5%). Estimated coverage of major serotype-based GBS vaccines currently under clinical trials would vary from 65.2% to 84.3%. All 689 isolates tested were susceptible to ampicillin and vancomycin. Resistance to chloramphenicol, clindamycin, erythromycin, levofloxacin, and tetracycline was observed in 5% (35), 2% (14), 14% (97), 5% (35) and 86% (592) of the isolates, respectively. No significant fluctuations in colonization rates, serotype distribution and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles were observed throughout the period of time investigated. The culture-based approach for IAP recommendation showed to be the best choice for the population investigated when compared to the risk-based, since the first did not increase the number of pregnant women submitted to antibiotic therapy and covered a larger number of women who were actually colonized by GBS. The fact the not all isolates were available for additional characterization, and serotype IX antiserum was not available for testing represent limitations of this study. Nevertheless, to the best of our knowledge, this is the largest investigation on GBS carriage among pregnant women in Brazil up to date, and results are useful for improving GBS prevention and treatment strategies.