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Long-term outcomes after group B streptococcus infection: a cohort study


Objective To describe the risk of death and hospitalisation until adolescence of children after group B streptococcus (GBS) infection during infancy.

Design Population-based cohort study.

Setting New South Wales, Australia.

Patients All registered live births from 2000 to 2011.

Interventions Comparison of long-term outcomes in children with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems-10th Revision discharge codes corresponding to GBS infections and those without.

Main outcome measures Death and hospitalisation.

Results A total of 1206 (0.1%) children (936 (77.6%)≥37 weeks’ gestation) were diagnosed with GBS infection. Over the study period, infection rates decreased from 2.1 (95% CI 1.8 to 2.4) to 0.7 (95% CI 0.5 to 0.9) per 1000 live births. Infants with GBS infection were born at lower gestation (mean 37.6 vs 39.0 weeks), were more likely very low birth weight (<1500 g, OR 9.1(95% CI 7.4 to 11.3)), born premature (OR 3.9(95% CI 3.4 to 4.5)) and have 5 min Apgar scores ≤5 (OR 6.7(95% CI 5.1 to 8.8)). Children with GBS had three times the adjusted odds of death (adjusted OR (AOR) 3.0(95% CI 2.1 to 4.3)) or rehospitalisations (AOR 3.1(95% CI 2.7 to 3.5)). Thirty-six (3.0%) with GBS died, with >50% of deaths occurring <28 days. Children with GBS were hospitalised more frequently (median 2 vs 1), for longer duration (mean 3.7 vs 2.2 days) and were at higher risk for problems with genitourinary (OR 3.1(95% CI 2.8 to 3.5)) and nervous (OR 2.0 (95% CI1.7 to 2.3)) systems.

Conclusions Despite decreasing GBS rates, the risk of poor health outcomes for GBS-infected children remains elevated, especially during the first 5 years. Survivors continue to be at increased risk of death and chronic conditions requiring hospitalisations, such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

  • infectious diseases
  • mortality
  • neonatology
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