Date: 13 May 2005

Prospective evaluation of a real-time PCR assay for detection of group B streptococci in vaginal swabs from pregnant women

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Group B streptococci (GBS) is the leading cause of neonatal sepsis and meningitis in developed countries. Implementation of selective intrapartum antimicrobial prophylaxis (IAP) as part of either screening-based or risk-based strategies has lowered the incidence of early-onset GBS sepsis in the USA and other Western countries [13]. Identification of GBS-colonized women is critical for the prevention of neonatal GBS infections [35]. Collection and testing of swab specimens at 35–37 weeks’ gestation is one suggested screening-based approach. Although culture is still the gold standard method for detecting GBS, results are available only after 18–72 h, depending upon the use of selective broth medium. In order to decrease the processing time, rapid tests based on immunological or hybridization methods have been developed, but they are insufficiently sensitive for direct identification of GBS from vaginal-rectal samples [59]. To overcome these problems, rapid-cycle real-time PCR methods