NEONATAL SOCIETY ABSTRACTS
Milk and the emergence of group B streptococcal disease in humans
Presented at the Neonatal Society 2011 Spring Meeting (programme).
Ismail AQ1, Yeates DGR3, Goldacre M3, Anthony M2
1 The Medical School, University of Oxford, UK
2 Department of Paediatrics, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK
3 Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology, Department of Public Health3, University of Oxford, UK
Background: Our aim was to define the relationship between the emergence of Group B streptococcus (GBS) in man and a significant change in UK milk collection practice that both occurred in the 1960-70s.
Methods: We compared PubMed reports of GBS disease from 1930, and UK and Oxford hospital admission data for neonatal infections; with the timing of the change in farming practice that occurred with centralization of milk processing; collection of milk by ‘churn’ to collection by ‘bulk tank’.
Results: Between 1960 and 1979 all farms in the UK switched to bulk tank collection which coincided with increasing PubMed reports of neonatal GBS disease.
Conclusion: The temporal relationship between emergence of neonatal GBS disease and the switch from churns to bulk tank milk collection adds weight to the hypothesis that human GBS infection arose from a bovine ancestor through milk consumption. This centralization of milk collection may have been a population biology opportunity for bovine GBS strains with a propensity to cause human disease to reach more people.
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Parker MT: Neonatal streptococcal infections. Postgrad Med J 1977, 53(624):598-606.