Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Nosocomial transmission of group B streptococci.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 15 August 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:459
  1. C S Easmon,
  2. M J Hastings,
  3. A J Clare,
  4. B Bloxham,
  5. R Marwood,
  6. R P Rivers,
  7. J Stringer


    The acquisition of group B streptococci by babies in a special-care baby unit and two postnatal wards was investigated over a six-month period using serology and phage typing. Sixty-three culture-positive babies were identified in the postnatal wards, one-third of whom had been born to mothers who were not carrying the organism in the genital tract or anorectal area during labour. A non-maternal source was identified for 14 of these 21 infants: either colonised mothers and babies in the same ward or, on one occasion, a member of the hospital staff. In the special-care baby unit, however, only one instance of nosocomial acquisition of group B streptococci was recorded despite a high prevalence of colonisation in the staff on the unit and the presence of heavily colonised babies. The results of this survey suggest that although sepsis caused by group B streptococci may be the result of nosocomial transmission, this may be prevented by careful attention to hygiene.