Latest insights from our experts
Simple Swab Denied to Pregnant Women That Could Prevent Baby Heartache
Group B Strep specialist Stuart Bramley writes –
“Olivia’s story is shocking but is sadly all too frequent. Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies, but far too few people know about it. I have advised and represented around 35 couples whose babies have developed this and virtually none had heard of GBS. The campaigning charity Group B Strep Support has recently finalised an information booklet which will be disseminated as widely as possible to alert new parents to the risks and warning signs – such as Olivia’s grunting noise, which can be typical of sepsis.
The UK does badly need a screening process for all pregnant women which would be likely to reduce the incidence of GBS infection although, from the facts given, that would not have helped Olivia. Since her symptoms arose at 2 weeks this would almost certainly have been late-onset GBS infection, which is more likely to be picked up from the community and sadly cannot currently be prevented. Whereas it is only the early-onset version that is contracted from the mother around delivery, so although the Mail is quite right that swabbing is an important tool, it is unlikely to have assisted here. Greater public knowledge of the signs of infection would have done, however, and I commend Chelsea and Ashley; Group B Strep Support; and in this story, the Daily Mail for highlighting the dangers. I sincerely hope that little Olivia pulls through with no permanent problems.”
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