July is Group B Strep Awareness Month and national charity Group B Strep Support is urging new and expectant parents to find out more about group B Strep.
Group B Strep is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies, causing meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia. Most of these infections could be prevented, yet around half of pregnant women haven’t even heard of group B Strep.
Group B Strep (also known as GBS or Strep B) is a bacteria unknowingly carried by around 20-30% of women. It’s only very rarely dangerous to adults, but is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies, causing sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis, and is the most common cause of meningitis in newborns.
On average in the UK:
- 2 babies a day develop group B Strep infection
- 1 baby a week dies from group B Strep infection
- 1 baby a week survives with disability
The charity will be raising awareness of group B Strep by releasing a Fact of the Day on social media about group B Strep.
“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.”
Every new and expectant mother should be informed about group B Strep during routine antenatal care and, if she wants to be tested for it in pregnancy, the ‘gold standard’ ECM test should be available on the NHS.
Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive of Group B Strep Support
Please visit the Group B Strep Awareness Month page at http://gbss.org.uk/campaigning/gbs-awareness-month/, which is filled with ways to get involved, from ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ social media posts to holding a fundraising event.
In the UK one baby a week is still dying from group B Strep infection
“Group B Strep infections in newborn babies can usually be prevented. I’d like to see every pregnant woman in the UK offered testing for GBS – this test is a routine part of antenatal care in many countries including Canada, France, Germany and the USA. Until then, raising awareness is the key to saving babies’ lives. Get informed and protect your baby.”
Dr Chris Steele MBE, resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning and a Patron of Group B Strep Support