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Posted 20 April 2017
Experts are urging for a routine test for deadly bug
In a recent article from the Daily Mail, experts are urging that a routine test is carried out on pregnant women for B Strep bacteria.
Stuart Bramley, solicitor specialising in Group B Strep claims, writes:
“I am delighted that the dangers of GBS have finally been highlighted in a national newspaper although the contents of the Daily Mail article remain upsetting. Given the prevalence of the infection (some studies suggest that as many as one in three women carry GBS for life) it is astonishing that so few people are aware of the dangers and of my clients that are affected, almost none had even heard of Strep B beforehand.
It remains disappointing that the NHS still refuse to screen all pregnant women despite the tireless efforts of the campaign by Group B Strep Support. In my view, Dr Anne Mackie’s objection misses the point. Simply because a screening test identifies a particular mother-to-be as being colonised with GBS doesn’t automatically mean that she will be given potentially-unnecessary antibiotics. Rather, once the midwives and obstetricians are aware of her colonised status, any early signs suggesting infection in the baby will be viewed against the background of that knowledge, and treatment given accordingly – a situation nicely summarised in Group B Strep Support’s slogan ‘Why Guess When You Can Test?’. Many of my clients have been affected by disability precisely because early indications of infection were overlooked until it was too late. Knowledge of the mother’s colonised status, which can only happen if she has been screened, would usually have allowed antibiotic intervention then – saving not only the baby’s life or health but also a great deal of money for the Health Service.
I do hope this article leads to a reassessment of the situation. It would obviously be too late for Pippa Griffiths but not for the hundreds of babies who will still fall prey to this dreadful infection in future”.