The importance of testing for Group B Streptococcus
In the UK routine antenatal testing for Strep B, Group B Strep, GBS is currently not offered by the NHS. This is in sharp contrast to many other developed countries such as Australia, France, Germany, Spain and the USA who do routinely screen pregnant women for Strep B and have seen a significant reduction in GBS infections.
Health services in the UK rely upon a ‘risk factor’ approach to determine which newborns are more likely to be at-risk of developing early-onset GBS infection. The approach looks at factors such as high temperature during labour, labour starting preterm or waters breaking early, previous GBS baby, and GBS detected this/last pregnancy. Intravenous antibiotics given in labour to women carrying Group B Strep have been proven to markedly reduce the risk of the newborn developing early onset Strep B infection.
Strep B continues to be a major cause of ill health amongst babies.
Carrying Strep B is asymptomatic, meaning there are no symptoms associated with GBS. Testing is the only way to identify whether or not you are carrying the Group B Strep bacterium.
We can help change this. Strepelle is an easy to use home-to-laboratory test for use from 35 weeks of pregnancy. Although Group B Strep carriage can come and go, this typically happens over periods of months, not hours or days.
Strepelle’s test for Strep B carriage is highly predictive of whether you will be carrying Group B Strep for the next 5 weeks which, when testing at 35-37 weeks, is when you are most likely to go into labour.
If Strep B is detected during pregnancy steps can be taken to minimise the risk of your newborn developing a GBS infection.
Strepelle use the Enriched Culture Medium test which is recognised as the gold standard for detecting GBS carriage. When the result is performed within 5 weeks of delivery a negative test is 96% predictive to remain negative at the time of delivery and a positive test is 87% predictive to remain positive at the time of delivery.