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Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of neonatal sepsis in developed countries. Its burden in the developing world is less clear. Studies reporting neonatal GBS disease incidence from developing countries were identified from 5 literature databases. Studies were assessed with respect to case finding and culture methods. Only 20 studies were identified. The GBS incidence ranged 0-3.06 per 1000 live births with variation within and between geographic regions. All but 1 study identified GBS cases within a hospital setting, despite the potential for births in the community. Possible case under-ascertainment was only discussed in 2 studies. A higher GBS incidence was reported when using automated culture methods. Prospective, population-based surveillance is urgently needed in developing countries to provide an accurate assessment of the neonatal GBS disease burden. This will be crucial for the design of interventions, including novel vaccines, and the understanding of their potential to impact mortality from neonatal sepsis.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date





91 - 102


Bacteriological Techniques, Developing Countries, Disease Notification, Humans, Incidence, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Newborn, Diseases, Streptococcal Infections, Streptococcus agalactiae