OBJECTIVES: To study the serotype distributions of group B streptococci (GBS) isolated from blood and cerebrospinal fluid and from the genital tract of pregnant women and to investigate any possible relation between serotype, age and clinical manifestation. METHODS: Invasive strains were collected from 1988 to 1997 and genital strains from 1995 to 1996. Strains of GBS were serotyped with coagglutination. Clinical data were obtained from hospital notes. RESULTS: A total of 144 invasive strains, 78 from neonates and infants and 66 from adults, were serotyped. The most common isolates from neonates and infants were types III (62%), Ia (18%), and V (9%). The most common isolates from adults were types III (29%), Ib (23%), V (21%) and II (15%). A majority of the adults (94%) had an underlying medical condition. The most common serotypes of the 114 strains isolated from the genital tract of pregnant women were types III (32%), V (22%), Ia (13%), Ib (13%) and II (11%). CONCLUSIONS: Serotype III was the single most frequent GBS isolate from infants and adults. Serotype V, which appeared first in 1992, was the third most frequent isolate. A vaccine containing five GBS capsular polysaccharides appears to be appropriate for the Swedish population.