The importance of testing for Group B Streptococcus
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.