By Professor Joy Lawn, LSHTM
What data do we have regarding GBS?
Group B Streptococcus (GBS; Streptococcus agalactiae) is a leading cause of infant sepsis and meningitis. First systematic estimates of the worldwide GBS burden (presented in a recent publication series in Clinical Infectious Diseases 2017 Vol 65) have identified priority data gaps. Such gaps concern particularly long-term outcomes especially after early/late onset GBS invasive disease (sepsis or meningitis). Data from low, and middle-income countries (LMIC) where the burden is highest are also crucial.
Why is this important?
Reliable estimates are critical to inform public health interventions particularly the development of GBS vaccines suitable for maternal immunization in pregnancy and use in LMIC.
What data do we need?
The London School of Tropical Medicine in collaboration with the World Health Organization currently requests for data to address the gap in information on long-term sequelae of infant GBS infections. The economic impact for individuals (such as earning potential and costs to families), are essential in order to more accurately assess health (e.g. Disability Adjusted Life Years) and economic burden
Expected existing data types lending themselves to addressing the need may include the following;
- Large (eg national) datasets in which data contributors can cross-link exposure data with long term outcomes (eg child development and/or education) in cases and controls
- Observational designs such as cohorts, following up infants after GBS sepsis or meningitis
- Cross-sectional studies with known GBS sepsis and/or meningitis. Such studies may not currently have follow-up but could have the potential to re-enrol participants to capture information on long term outcomes and economic data.
How could this benefit you?
If you contribute such data and they are included in analyses you will be invited as co-authors on relevant papers from this work in scientific journals. Data from each individual study could be also published by your team as a separate paper. Some seed funding might be available for re-enrolment of cohorts with high quality exposure data in LMIC contexts, especially Africa and South Asia. We are also planning an investigators meeting to discuss results, which we invite all investigators to attend.