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Comparison of Three Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests and Culture for Detection of Group B Streptococcus from Enrichment Broth.


Colonization of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts of pregnant women with group B Streptococcus (GBS) can result in vertical transmission to neonates during labor/delivery. GBS infections in neonates can cause severe complications, such as sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia. Accurate detection is critical because administration of intrapartum antibiotics can significantly reduce transmission. We compared the clinical sensitivities of three nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), the Hologic Panther Fusion GBS, Luminex Aries GBS, and Cepheid Xpert GBS LB assays, to that of the standard of care culture method recommended for GBS screening using 500 vaginal-rectal swab specimens after 18 to 24 h of broth enrichment. We identified 108 positive specimens (21.6%) by culture, while at least 1 of the 3 NAATs was positive for GBS in 155 specimens (31.0%). All 108 specimens positive by culture were also detected by the Panther Fusion assay, while 107/108 (99.1%) were detected by the Cepheid Xpert and Luminex Aries assays. Of the 61 specimens positive by at least 1 NAAT but negative by culture, 24 (39.3%) were positive by all 3 NAATs, suggesting that they represent true positives (TPs). NAATs offer less hands-on time, greater throughput, faster time to result, and potentially greater sensitivity than culture methods, and they should be considered the new gold standard for intrapartum GBS screening.

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