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Group B Streptococci: A Serious Threat to the Neonate

Martha Yow, MD
JAMA. 1974;230(8):1177-1178. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240080059035.
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Within the past few years, group B streptococcal disease has become a major problem in many areas of the United States. There is no doubt that there has been a true increase in the incidence of neonatal disease resulting from group B streptococci. These organisms have been recognized as pathogenic for many years, but only recently have they emerged as a major threat to the newborn infant.

Lancefield1 first described these hemolytic streptococci as distinct from the group A hemolytic streptococci and other hemolytic streptococci when she developed precipitin-grouping tests in 1934. In 1942, Rantz and Kirby2 called attention to human infection caused by the group B streptococci. Hood and associates,3 in 1961, presented a strong case for the importance of these organisms in perinatal infection in both the infant and the mother. In 1964, Eickhoff et al4 reported experience with group B streptococcal infections at


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