Burden of Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

Estimating the worldwide burden of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections in pregnant women, stillbirths and children (2015-2017).

GBSResearch showing the worldwide Group B Streptococcus (GBS) burden in pregnant women, stillbirths and children is being launched on Monday 6th of November at the annual American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene in Baltimore, USA. The research involved over 100 researchers from more than 30 institutions and was coordinated by the MARCH Centre at LSHTM.

The team conducted a ‘landscape analysis’, looking at the global epidemiology of GBS in terms of its contribution to newborn and infant sepsis. The team considered a wide range of outcomes for women themselves as well as newborn and infant disease, stillbirth, neurodevelopmental impairment, prematurity, and neonatal encephalopathy.

The research estimated 21.7 million pregnant women to be infected with GBS globally, translating to an average of 18% or one in five of all pregnant women, most of whom are untreated and unidentified. The highest numbers of colonised pregnant women in 2015 were found in India (2.5 million), China (1.9 million), Nigeria (1.1 million), the USA (0.9 million) and Indonesia (0.8 million).

The work has more than doubled previously available data, through comprehensive systematic reviews as well as use of unpublished data from collaborators worldwide, but there are still key gaps, notably for stillbirths (especially in Asia), disability especially after GBS sepsis, and maternal GBS disease. The results estimated within the study are therefore likely to be underestimates of the true burden of GBS.

The study investigated the potential of maternal immunisation for reducing the global burden of GBS and showed that a maternal GBS vaccine with 80% efficacy and 90% coverage could potentially prevent 231,000 infant and maternal GBS cases, in turn reducing other outcomes such as stillbirths, deaths and later impairment.

GBS accounts for more than the combined neonatal deaths from tetanus, pertussis, and respiratory syncytial virus, for which maternal vaccines are already in use or advanced development. However, no vaccine is currently available for maternal GBS.

News and Updates

VACANCY: Assistant Professor in Epidemiology and/or Economics of Maternal and Newborn Health

The postholder will be responsible for developing an international research portfolio towards a comprehensive value proposition for the development and first use of GBS (group B Streptococcus) vaccination. The proposition will be on the basis of a thorough assessment of the burden of disease and economic impact of GBS, and the costs and gains that can be expected through vaccination. This programme of work is expected to spur investments into the full development of candidate vaccines and inform the public health community on the key aspects of further R&D, as well as implementing and tracking progress in routine programmes. See full details and apply here. (deadline 9th March 2018)

VACANCY: Research Fellow in Health Economics

The post holder will be responsible for a programme of methodological and applied research regarding economic evaluation of maternal vaccination using Group B Streptococcus vaccines that are currently being developed. The work is part of an international consortium funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, and involving researchers at LSHTM, WHO and partners. He/she will prepare research findings both for scientific publication and to inform policy makers.

See more details and apply here. (deadline 31st March 2018)

Photo credit to ©Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Sarah Elliott

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