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Emerging trends in invasive and noninvasive isolates of Streptococcus agalactiae in a Latin American hospital: a 17-year study

Maria del Pilar Crespo-Ortiz12*, Claudia Rocio Castañeda-Ramirez34, Monica Recalde-Bolaños3 and Juan Diego Vélez-Londoño3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Santiago de Cali University, Cali, Colombia

2 Department of Microbiology, University of Valle, Cali, Colombia

3 Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Division, Foundation Valle del Lili Hospital, Cali, Colombia

4 Bacteriology School, University of Valle, Cali, Colombia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:428  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-428

Published: 3 August 2014



Streptococcus agalactiae or group B Streptococcus (GBS) has been recognized as a lethal pathogen in neonates worldwide. S. agalactiae infections also severely affect pregnant women and immunosuppressed adults with substantial attributable morbidity and mortality. However, in Latin America, studies on the epidemiology and behaviour of S. agalactiae infections remain limited.


To better understand the behaviour of S. agalactiae infections in our region, we conducted a retrospective study to phenotypically describe S. agalactiae isolates collected in one of the largest hospitals in Colombia at two time periods: 1994–2001 and 2004–2012. The isolates were identified by biochemical analysis and tested for antimicrobial susceptibility.


In 1994–2001 a total of 201 S. agalactiae isolates were found in urine 38.3%, vaginal exudates 27.8%, soft tissue 12.9%, and blood 8.5%. Susceptibility to ampicillin or penicillin was 94% whereas resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin were 2.8% and 5.2% respectively. In total 46 culture-positive cases of invasive infections were reported, 11 (24%) in neonates and 35 (76%) in adults. In 2004–2012 a total of 671 isolates were found in urine 47.8%, vaginal exudates 32.6%, soft tissue 2.7% and blood 9%. Susceptibility rates to ampicillin and penicillin were 98% whereas resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin were 12.5% and 9.4%. A total of 95 severe infections were reported: 12 (12.6%) were in neonates, 5 (5.3%) in children and 78 (82.1%) in adults. Over the 17-year study period the averaged prevalence of invasive S. agalactiae isolates was 17.4%. The estimated incidence for neonatal infections was 1.34 per 1000 livebirths (0.99 × 1000 livebirths for early- onset disease and 0.35 × 1000 livebirths for late- onset disease) whereas for non-pregnant adults the estimated incidence was 0.75 × 1000 admissions.


A remarkable increase in bloodstream infections in immunosuppressed adults and a shift to early neonatal S. agalactiae infections were seen over time. We also found an increase in S. agalactiae resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin during the study period, and the emergence of penicillin-nonsusceptible isolates. Our findings are consistent with the global trends described elsewhere, reinforcing the need for S. agalactiae control measures in our region.

Neonatal infections; Immunosuppression; Bacteremia; Streptococcus agalactiae; Group B Streptococcus