Changes in Group B Streptococcus Colonization among Pregnant Women before and after the Onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil

Natália Silva Costa, André Rio-Tinto, Isabella Bittencourt Ferreira Pinto, Danielle Cristina dos Santos Silva Alvim, Amanda de Assis Rocha, Laura Maria Andrade Oliveira, Ana Caroline Nunes Botelho, Sergio Eduardo Longo Fracalanzza, Lucia Martins Teixeira, Jorge Rezende-Filho, Penélope Saldanha Marinho, Joffre Amim Júnior, Stephen Taylor, Steve Thomas, Tatiana Castro Abreu Pinto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of neonatal infections. The genitourinary and gastrointestinal tract of pregnant women are the main source of transmission to newborns. This work investigated the prevalence and characterized GBS from pregnant women in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, comparing the periods before (January 2019 to March 2020; 521) and during (May 2020 to March 2021; 285) the COVID-19 pandemic. GBS was detected in 10.8% of anovaginal samples. Considering scenarios before and during the pandemic, GBS colonization rate significantly decreased (13.8% vs. 5.3%; p = 0.0001). No clinical and sociodemographic aspect was associated with GBS carriage (p > 0.05). A total of 80%, 13.8% and 4.6% GBS strains were non-susceptible to tetracycline, erythromycin and clindamycin, respectively. Serotype Ia was the most frequent (47.7%), followed by V (23.1%), II (18.4%), III (7.7%) and Ib (3.1%). An increasing trend of serotypes Ib and V, as well as of antimicrobial resistance rates, and a decreasing trend of serotypes II and III, were observed after the pandemic onset, albeit not statistically significant (p > 0.05). The reduction in GBS colonization rates and alterations in GBS serotypes and resistance profiles during the pandemic were not due to changes in the sociodemographic profile of the population. Considering that control and preventive measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic onset have impacted other infectious diseases, these results shed light on the need for the continuous surveillance of GBS among pregnant women in the post-pandemic era.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1104
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Bacterial Vaccines (BactiVac) Network funded by the GCRF Networks in Vaccines Research and Development which was co-funded by the MRC and BBSRC. Funding number is BVNCP4-10.

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Brazilian agencies Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES)—Finance code 001, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) for partially supporting this work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Streptococcus agalactiae
  • anovaginal colonization
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • group B Streptococcus
  • pregnant women


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