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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Comparison of different sampling techniques and of different culture methods for detection of group B streptococcus carriage in pregnant women

Nabil A El Aila1, Inge Tency2, Geert Claeys3, Bart Saerens1, Piet Cools1, Hans Verstraelen2, Marleen Temmerman2, Rita Verhelst1 and Mario Vaneechoutte1*

Author affiliations

1 Laboratory Bacteriology Research, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium

2 Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Ghent University Hospital, University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium

3 Laboratory for Clinical Biology, Ghent University Hospital, University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium

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Citation and License

BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:285  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-285

Published: 29 September 2010

Abstract

Background

Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus; GBS) is a significant cause of perinatal and neonatal infections worldwide. To detect GBS colonization in pregnant women, the CDC recommends isolation of the bacterium from vaginal and anorectal swab samples by growth in a selective enrichment medium, such as Lim broth (Todd-Hewitt broth supplemented with selective antibiotics), followed by subculture on sheep blood agar. However, this procedure may require 48 h to complete. We compared different sampling and culture techniques for the detection of GBS.

Methods

A total of 300 swabs was taken from 100 pregnant women at 35-37 weeks of gestation. For each subject, one rectovaginal, one vaginal and one rectal ESwab were collected. Plating onto Columbia CNA agar (CNA), group B streptococcus differential agar (GBSDA) (Granada Medium) and chromID Strepto B agar (CA), with and without Lim broth enrichment, were compared. The isolates were confirmed as S. agalactiae using the CAMP test on blood agar and by molecular identification with tDNA-PCR or by 16S rRNA gene sequence determination.

Results

The overall GBS colonization rate was 22%. GBS positivity for rectovaginal sampling (100%) was significantly higher than detection on the basis of vaginal sampling (50%), but not significantly higher than for rectal sampling (82%). Direct plating of the rectovaginal swab on CNA, GBSDA and CA resulted in detection of 59, 91 and 95% of the carriers, respectively, whereas subculturing of Lim broth yielded 77, 95 and 100% positivity, respectively. Lim broth enrichment enabled the detection of only one additional GBS positive subject. There was no significant difference between GBSDA and CA, whereas both were more sensitive than CNA. Direct culture onto GBSDA or CA (91 and 95%) detected more carriers than Lim broth enrichment and subculture onto CNA (77%). One false negative isolate was observed on GBSDA, and three false positives on CA.

Conclusions

In conclusion, rectovaginal sampling increased the number GBS positive women detected, compared to vaginal and/or rectal sampling. Direct plating on CA and/or GBSDA provided rapid detection of GBS that was at least as sensitive and specific as the CDC recommended method of Lim broth subcultured onto non chromogenic agar.