Background: The crude rate of early-onset Group B streptococcus disease (EOGBS) in Israel has been consistently under 0.5 for 1000 live births for the past 8 years. The Israeli Ministry of Health has adapted the risk factor based approach for preventing EOGBS and universal bacteriological screening for GBS is not recommended. In spite of this policy, there are indications that many pregnant women in Israel undergo bacteriological screening for GBS. The objective of this study is to assess the rate and characteristics of pregnant women who undergo screening for group B streptococcus (GBS) colonization in Israel. Methods: Survey of expectant mothers who came to give birth in 29 delivery rooms throughout Israel during the month of July 2012 regarding GBS screening practice and demographics. Results: A total of 2968 pregnant women participated in the assessment. Among them, 935 women (31.5 %) had been tested for GBS colonization. About 90 % of those women had no risk factors, only 542 women (60 %) underwent testing during the recommended gestational timing (35-37 weeks) and 23 % of the tested women reported being GBS carriers. GBS screening as part of the routine pregnancy follow- up was associated with: residence district, intermediate or high socioeconomic rank, being a member of certain health maintenance organization and being Jewish. Characteristics found to be significantly associated with being a GBS carrier were: low socioeconomic rank, and having a risk factor for GBS infection. Conclusions: A substantial number of pregnant women in Israel undergo screening for GBS colonization despite the national policy against universal screening. While GBS colonization was more prevalent in women of lower socioeconomic status, screening is done more often in those of higher socioeconomic status, suggesting unnecessary monetary expenses.
- GBS carrier
- Group B streptococcus