Group B Streptococcus (GBS or group B Strep) is a naturally occurring bacterium that usually causes no harm, but can cause severe infection in a small number of babies and adults. Group B Strep is not a sexually transmitted disease.
Carrying group B Strep is normal — around 20-30% of adults carry group B Strep, typically in the gut and/or vagina without signs or symptoms. Group B Strep carriage does not require treatment until labour starts. At the start of labour, antibiotics should be offered to the mum to reduce the risk to the baby of developing group B Strep infection.
Unfortunately, despite the potentially dire consequences of the infection, routine testing for group b Strep is not available on the NHS. Whilst you can carry group b Strep and deliver a baby quite safely, it can rarely cause serious infection such as sepsis, pneumonia or meningitis.
In addition to the lack of routine testing, a recent survey found that only one third of pregnant women feel adequately informed about group B Strep but a new leaflet will ensure that all women are equipped with the best information on the infection itself; how to minimise the risk and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that private testing for the infection is available and easy to access.
The great news is that a new information leaflet has come about as a result of fantastic campaigning by leading charity Group B Strep Support (GBSS).
All pregnant women will now have access to high-quality information on group B Strep, endorsed by both the RCOG and GBSS. The leaflet makes it very clear that private tests to pick up the presence of the infection are available outside the NHS, and it is hoped that this will bring about a sea-change in awareness and prevention.
This new patient leaflet will be provided to all pregnant women for the first time. This is a huge leap forward in the battle to raise awareness of the infection, the available testing, and the signs of an infection. The leaflet was jointly written by experts at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and charity, Group B Strep Support.
Group B Strep Support believes that:
Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive GBSS says of the new leaflet:
“We are delighted to be working with the RCOG to raise awareness of group B Strep among pregnant women. For the first time, this new joint leaflet will provide clear, concise and consistent information to all pregnant women throughout the NHS to help improve knowledge and awareness, as well as reduce the mixed messages that are sometimes given about GBS.”
If you and your baby have experienced medical errors during your pregnancy, labour or shortly after your baby’s birth which may have resulted in serious injuries and you would like to discuss this with no obligation, then please contact Elizabeth Smith at Wolferstans, Solicitors on 01752 292309 or firstname.lastname@example.org