Puerperal Sepsis and the Colebrooks
outbreaks of streptococcal sepsis
Dora Colebrook, came to Queen Charlottes in 1930 to study the source of group A streptococci that were causing so many deaths from puerperal sepsis. Using defined serological techniques, she undertook groundbreaking work to demonstrate that the streptococci that caused uterine infections and deaths were the very same streptococci present in the throats of those in the household or healthcare workers caring for the women. We are making her 1935 MRC report available here .
Imperial's new NIHR BRC AMR Colebrook research laboratory at Charing Cross, which opened at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, is named in honour of Dora and her brother Leonard.
antibiotic treatment of puerperal sepsis
Leonard Colebrook undertook the first trials of antibacterials at Queen Charlottes hospital in 1936, evaluating Prontosil Red to treat streptococcal puerperal sepsis. Within a year use of sulphonamides was widespread, predating general use of penicillin by a decade.