Group b streptococcal colonization in african countries: Prevalence, capsular serotypes, and molecular sequence types

Sarah Shabayek, Patricia Ferrieri, Barbara Spellerberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Streptococcus agalactiae or group B streptococcus (GBS) is a commensal of the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts of healthy women and an important cause of neonatal invasive infections worldwide. Transmission of bacteria to the newborn occurs at birth and can be prevented by intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis. However, this not available in resource limited settings in Africa, which carries a particular high burden of disease. Serotype based vaccines are in development and present a suitable alternative to prevent neonatal infections. To be able to assess vaccine efficacy, knowledge and surveillance of GBS epidemiological data are required. This review summarizes investigations about the serotype distribution and the multi-locus sequence types (MLST) found in different African countries. While most serotypes and MLST data are comparable to findings from other continents, some specific differences exist. Serotype V is predominant among colonizing maternal strains in many different African countries. Serotypes that are rarely detected in western industrialized nations, such as serotypes VI, VII and IX, are prevalent in studies from Ghana and Egypt. Moreover, some specific MLST sequence types that seem to be more or less unique to Africa have been detected. However, overall, the data confirm that a hexavalent vaccine can provide broad coverage for the African continent and that a protein vaccine could represent a promising alternative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1606
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Colonization
  • Group B streptococci
  • Neonatal infections
  • Perinatal
  • Streptococcus agalactiae


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