Hispanics Less Likely to Get Prenatal GBS Screen


Hispanic women and those who receive prenatal care at a hospital or clinic were less likely to be screened for group B streptococcus in North Carolina during 2002–2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists jointly recommended universal prenatal screening for vaginal and rectal group B streptococcus (GBS) colonization at 35–37 weeks' gestation. The same year, the CDC began analyzing GBS screening rates in the North Carolina Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), a population-based monthly mail/telephone survey of randomly selected women in the state who have recently delivered a live-born infant.

The data comprise responses from 3,027 women who were included in the sample. In 2002, 70% reported having been tested for GBS during their most recent pregnancy, 11% said they had not been tested, and 19% did not know whether they had been tested. In 2003, those proportions were 74%, 8%, and 18%, respectively, the CDC reported (MMWR 2005:54:700–3).

Among the women who knew their GBS status, the factors significantly associated with lack of prenatal screening on multivariate analysis were Hispanic ethnicity, receipt of prenatal care primarily at a hospital clinic or health department (versus private physician/HMO), and lack of prenatal HIV testing. Those same factors also were associated with lack of knowledge of GBS screening on multivariate analysis, along with black race, other race, and Medicaid payment of delivery.

The incidence of invasive perinatal GBS disease in the United States declined 34% from 2002 to 2003, following the universal screening recommendation. Further efforts to reduce disparities in prenatal GBS screening among minority populations will be needed for continued progress, the CDC said.

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