Group B Strep

Posted on 8 February, 2018 at 16:25

What is group B Strep?


Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a normal bacterium which is carried by 20-40% of adults, most commonly in the gut, and for up to 25% of women, in the vagina, usually without symptoms or side-effects.


GBS can occasionally cause infection, most commonly in newborn babies, sometimes in adults and, very rarely, during pregnancy and before labour.


GBS is not a sexually transmitted disease. Treatment of a woman and her partner carrying GBS does not prevent re-colonisation.


There are two types of GBS infection in newborns: early and late-onset:


Early-onset GBS infection is more common (approximately 2/3 of cases in babies) and occurs when the baby is up to 6 days old; a key symptom is the rapid development of breathing problems, associated with blood poisoning.

Late-onset GBS infection – usually presenting as sepsis and meningitis – occurs between age 7 days and up to age 3 months. After 3 months’ old, GBS infection in babies is extremely rare.

GBS is recognised to cause preterm delivery, maternal infections, stillbirths and late miscarriages; preterm babies are known to be at particular risk of GBS infection as their immune systems are not as well developed.


Overall, even with current prevention strategies, approximately 1 in every 1,000 babies born in the UK develops group B Strep infection.


On average in the UK, at least


two babies a day develop a group B Strep infection

one baby a week dies from their GBS infection, and

one baby a week survives with long-term disabilities – physical, mental or both.

For more information about the incidence of GBS bacteraemia (blood infection) in babies aged 0-90 days in England, Wales & Northern Ireland, cl


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Where to get an ECM test

The ECM test (Enriched Culture Medium test) is the international ‘gold standard’ for detecting group B Strep carriage. Find out where you can order your home testing kit today.


Current UK guidance about GBS

In the UK, all pregnant women are not routinely offered testing for group B Strep carriage, unlike in many other developed countries. Sensitive tests for GBS carriage are not widely available within the NHS, though they are available privately from less than £40.

For More info please click on the following link

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