The importance of testing for Group B Streptococcus
In the UK routine antenatal testing for 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 GBS 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 GBS have been proven to markedly reduce the risk of the newborn developing early onset GBS infection.
The "risk factor" approach is not reducing the rate of infections in the UK and GBS continues to be a major cause of ill health amongst babies.
Strepelle can help change this. Strepelle is an easy to use home to laboratory test for use from 35 weeks of pregnancy. Although GBS carriage can come and go, this typically happens over periods of months, not hours or days. Strepelle’s test for GBS carriage is highly predictive of whether you will be carrying GBS for the next 5 weeks which, when testing at 35-37 weeks, is when you are most likely to go into labour.
Group B Streptococcus is a leading cause of early onset neonatal infection, resulting in sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis in the UK. Early Onset Group B Strep (EOGBS) currently affects 1 in 1750 babies and 1 in 400 if the mother is carrying Group B Strep. EOGBS can be life threatening, unfortunately there is no way to tell which baby will be affected. Carrying GBS is asymptomatic, meaning there are no symptoms associated with GBS. Testing is the only way to identify whether or not you are carrying GBS. If GBS is detected during pregnancy steps can be taken to minimise the risk of your newborn developing the GBS infection. In the UK routine antenatal testing is currently not offered by the NHS 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. This is in sharp contrast to many other developed countries who provide GBS screening to all pregnant women 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 positive test is 87% predictive to remain positive at the time of delivery.