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Saving babies – Group B Strep Awareness Month

New leaflet to help women make informed choices about group B Strep

July is Group B Strep Awareness Month, organised by charity Group B Strep Support to improve awareness of group B Strep.

This year the charity is offering free copies of their latest information leaflet to all NHS maternity units so that all pregnant women in the UK are informed about group B Strep.

Group B Streptococcus (GBS or Strep B) is a normal bacterium carried by adults, usually with no symptoms or side-effects. GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies. It causes serious infections, including sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis. GBS is the most common cause of meningitis in children under 5. Untreated GBS infection can kill within hours.

The new information leaflet, written with experts at the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG), explains when a baby is at increased risk of GBS infection, and how to reduce that risk. The UK ‘best practice’ guidelines recommend that this leaflet should be provided to all pregnant women.

Women can take a simple, safe test between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy to see if they’re carrying GBS. The GBS test (also called the Enriched Culture Medium or ECM test) should, says the RCOG, be offered to women who carried GBS in their previous pregnancy. The ECM test is becoming increasingly available in NHS hospitals.

For pregnant women not eligible for the GBS test on the NHS test, the ECM test is available privately, both as a home testing kit and at private clinics (see www.gbss.org.uk/test for availability).

To mark July 2018’s Group B Strep Awareness Month, the leading provider of the ECM test – The Doctors Laboratory – is automatically applying a £5 discount for all GBS tests ordered during July, bringing the price down from £35 to £30 (inc P&P). See https://gbss.org.uk/test-companies/thedoctorslaboratory/ for more information.

Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive and Founder of Group B Strep Support:

“Knowing about group B Strep when you’re pregnant and in the early weeks after birth can make a massive difference – most group B Strep infections in newborn babies can be prevented, and early treatment can and does save lives.”

Annette Wilkinson, Director of Sales at The Doctors Laboratory:

“We are delighted to be working closely with Group B Strep Support to improve awareness of group B Strep and help give women peace of mind.

For the month of July home sample-collection packs for group B Strep will be specially priced at £30.00 instead of £35.00.”

Ellen and Phoebe’s story

The first Mum Ellen heard of group B Strep was from the doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) who were caring for her newborn daughter, Phoebe.

Phoebe had been born ill after an emergency Caesarean, and was rushed straight to NICU. She was two days old when the doctors diagnosed a group B Strep infection, and she stayed in hospital for the first ten days of her life.

Fortunately, Phoebe has made a fantastic recovery and recently celebrated her first birthday.

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