I CALL FOR ACTION TO PROTECT NEWBORNS FROM LIFE-THREATENING INFECTION

I called for greater awareness of the leading cause of severe infection in babies, after meeting with charity Group B Strep Support to mark July’s Group B Strep Awareness Month.


Group B Streptococcus (Group B Strep or Strep B) is the UK's most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies and of meningitis in children. It’s a common bacteria that is carried by between 2 – 4 in 10 women in the UK and is normally harmless – however it can cause serious infection in young babies. On average, two babies each day in the UK develop a group B Strep infection and each week, one baby dies from a group B Strep infection and another is left with a life-changing disability.


There is an ongoing clinical trial, GBS3, exploring whether testing pregnant women for group B Strep will prevent infection more effectively than the UK’s current risk-based approach.


Costing £4.2m and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR, the research arm of the NHS), the trial will involve 320,000 pregnant women and is being run by the University of Nottingham's School of Medicine in 80 sites across the UK.


During Group B Strep Awareness Month, the charity has been encouraging people to raise awareness of group B Strep among pregnant women, as part of their #BumpItOn campaign.


Find out more about group B Strep at gbss.org.uk