Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (JPIDS)
Volume 7, Issue 1 March 2018
A Time to Save
Carol J Baker
Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Volume 7, Issue 1, 19 February 2018, Pages 1–5, https://doi.org/10.1093/jpids/piw080
Group B Streptococcus (GBS), characterized by Lancefield in 1933, was not recognized as a human pathogen until the early 1970s when it emerged and replaced Escherichia coli as the most common cause of sepsis and meningitis among neonates and young infants. This article briefly gives a personnel account of the discovery of clinical syndromes of GBS distinguished by age at onset, vertical mode of transmission for early-onset disease, meningeal tropism for GBS capsular (CPS) type III strains, and protective CPS epitopes. It also reviews the difficult evolution of the now routine program for antenatal GBS culture screening and intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis, development of the first GBS candidate vaccines, clinical trials documenting the immunogenicity and safety of CPS tetanus toxoid conjugate vaccines, ongoing need to prevent morbidity and mortality in neonates and young infants, and critical need for commercial vaccines for routine use in pregnant women.