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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Genotyping of Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococci) isolated from vaginal and rectal swabs of women at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy

Nabil Abdullah El Aila1, Inge Tency2, Geert Claeys1, Bart Saerens1, Ellen De Backer1, 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

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2009, 9:153  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-153

Published: 11 September 2009

Abstract

Background

Group B streptococci (GBS), or Streptococcus agalactiae, are the leading bacterial cause of meningitis and bacterial sepsis in newborns. Here we compared different culture media for GBS detection and we compared the occurrence of different genotypes and serotypes of GBS isolates from the vagina and rectum.

Methods

Streptococcus agalactiae was cultured separately from both rectum and vagina, for a total of 150 pregnant women, i) directly onto Columbia CNA agar, or indirectly onto ii) Granada agar resp. iii) Columbia CNA agar, after overnight incubation in Lim broth.

Results

Thirty six women (24%) were colonized by GBS. Of these, 19 harbored GBS in both rectum and vagina, 9 only in the vagina and 8 exclusively in the rectum. The combination of Lim broth and subculture on Granada agar was the only culture method that detected all GBS positive women. Using RAPD-analysis, a total of 66 genotypes could be established among the 118 isolates from 32 women for which fingerprinting was carried out. Up to 4 different genotypes in total (rectal + vaginal) were found for 4 women, one woman carried 3 different genotypes vaginally and 14 women carried two 2 different genotypes vaginally. Only two subjects were found to carry strains with the same genotype, although the serotype of both of these strains was different.

Eighteen of the 19 subjects with GBS at both sites had at least one vaginal and one rectal isolate with the same genotype.

We report the presence of two to four different genotypes in 22 (61%) of the 36 GBS positive women and the presence of identical genotypes in both sites for all women but one.

Conclusion

The combination of Lim broth and subculture on Granada medium provide high sensitivity for GBS detection from vaginal and rectal swabs from pregnant women. We established a higher genotypic diversity per individual than other studies, with up to four different genotypes among a maximum of 6 isolates per individual picked. Still, 18 of the 19 women with GBS from both rectum and vagina had at least one isolate from each sampling site with the same genotype.