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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology

Print version ISSN 1517-8382

Abstract

MUNARI, F.M. et al. A combined enrichment/polymerase chain reaction based method for the routine screening of Streptococcus agalactiae in pregnant women. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2012, vol.43, n.1, pp. 253-260. ISSN 1517-8382.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822012000100029.

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in neonates. Guidelines from CDC recommend universal screening of pregnant women for rectovaginal GBS colonization. The objective of this study was to compare the performance of a combined enrichment/PCR based method targeting the atr gene in relation to culture using enrichment with selective broth medium (standard method) to identify the presence of GBS in pregnant women. Rectovaginal GBS samples from women at ≥36 weeks of pregnancy were obtained with a swab and analyzed by the two methods. A total of 89 samples were evaluated. The prevalence of positive results for GBS detection was considerable higher when assessed by the combined enrichment/PCR method than with the standard method (35.9% versus 22.5%, respectively). The results demonstrated that the use of selective enrichment broth followed by PCR targeting the atr gene is a highly sensitive, specific and accurate test for GBS screening in pregnant women, allowing the detection of the bacteria even in lightly colonized patients. This PCR methodology may provide a useful diagnostic tool for GBS detection and contributes for a more accurate and effective intrapartum antibiotic and lower newborn mortality and morbidity.

Keywords : Streptococcus agalactiae; Group B Streptococcus; atr gene; Screening test; Accuracy.

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