The incidence, morbidity, and mortality of group B streptococcal disease in the UK and Republic of Ireland are largely unknown. Between Feb 1, 2000, and Feb 28, 2001, we identified cases of invasive group B streptococcal disease in infants younger than 90 days through surveillance involving paediatricians, microbiologists, and parents. 568 cases were identified, equivalent to a total incidence of 0.72 per 1000 live-births (95% CI 0.66-0.78); the incidence for early-onset disease (n=377) was 0.48 per 1000 (0.43-0.53), and for late-onset disease (n=191) was 0.24 per 1000 (0.21-0.28). Risk factors were identifiable for 218 (58%) cases of early-onset disease. 53 infants died (overall 9.7%). We have established the minimum current burden of group B streptococcal disease in UK and Irish infants. This information will assist in the formulation of guidelines for prevention of this disease.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We acknowledge Richard Lynn of the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit who coordinated initial paediatric reports; Pauline Waight for early help with microbiological reports and Chris Lane who geographically analysed reports, both from the PHLS Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre; and Jane Plumb from the Group B Strep Support charity for help with parents' reports. We thank all paediatricians, microbiologists, and parents who contributed to the study. The study was funded by a programme grant from the Meningitis Research Foundation. The sponsor had no role in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.