May 29, 2024

Placental Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Detection Linked to Neonatal Unit Admission in Full-term Infants

A recent study published in Nature Microbiology reveals that the detection of Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Streptococcus; GBS) in the placenta is associated with a higher risk of neonatal unit (NNU) admission. The study conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge reanalyzed a dataset that previously identified GBS DNA in the placenta of approximately 5 percent of women before labor. The study was designed as a case-control investigation of NNU admission.

Among infants born at term, the researchers observed that out of 30 infants with placental GBS, seven were admitted to the NNU. In comparison, out of 406 infants without placental GBS, 34 were admitted to the NNU, resulting in an odds ratio of 3.3. To validate these findings, a separate study using a different set of subjects from the same cohort was conducted. This validation study included 239 cases of term NNU admission and 686 term controls. The results showed that out of 36 infants with placental GBS, 16 were admitted to the NNU. Conversely, out of 889 infants without placental GBS, 223 were admitted to the NNU. The odds ratio for NNU admission in infants with placental GBS was found to be 2.4.

Further analysis of the 36 infants with placental GBS revealed that 10 were admitted to the NNU with evidence of probable but culture-negative sepsis, two with proven GBS sepsis, six with chorioamnionitis, and five with funisitis. The odds ratios for these specific conditions in infants with placental GBS were 4.8, 66.6, 5.3, and 6.7, respectively. The study also found that fetal cytokine storm, a severe immune response, was present in 36 percent of infants with placental GBS DNA, while only 4 percent of cases with a negative placenta showed signs of fetal cytokine storm. The odds ratio for fetal cytokine storm in infants with placental GBS DNA was 14.2.

The study authors note that the association between placental GBS detection and NNU admission was primarily driven by increased rates of admission due to probable but culture-negative sepsis and culture-positive proven GBS sepsis. It is worth mentioning that some of the authors involved in the study disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of detecting GBS in the placenta, as it is linked to an increased risk of NNU admission in infants born at term. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the impact of GBS on newborn health and may lead to improved strategies for preventing and managing GBS-associated complications in neonates.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it