Our work, in partnership with our associated NHS Trust, Public Health England and the Sanger Institute has sought to identify the host and microbial factors affecting bacterial transmission, carriage, and pathogenesis looking at the most clinically relevant strains to help us predict future challenges and potentially identify points for intervention. Our whole-genome sequencing of Group B streptococcus (GBS) has indicated that a majority of cases of GBS late-onset disease (LOD) arising in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are clusters, resulting from nosocomial horizontal transmission. This suggests that a single case of late-onset GBS arising in the NICU should now be considered as a potential sentinel case of an outbreak and not sporadic as previously thought.

As a result of this work a Public Health England working group has been established to determine the need for national guidance in relation to nosocomial GBS and a major additional surveillance research project is being undertaken to an estimate the proportion of all GBS nationally that might represent nosocomial transmission.


Jauneikaite E, Kapatai G, Davies F, et al, Serial Clustering of Late-Onset Group B Streptococcal Infections in the Neonatal Unit - a Genomic Re-Evaluation of Causality, Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2018.