Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the commonest cause of life threatening infections in new born babies in the UK. Babies can be exposed to Group B Strep (GBS) shortly before or during birth.
Group B Strep (GBS), is a common natural bacterium which is a gut flora found in 20-30% of men and women. It is estimated that around one in four pregnant women in the UK carry Group B Strep (GBS) in their digestive system or vagina.
The only way to know you are carrying the bacteria is to test for it!
On average in the UK 1 baby per day develops Group B Strep (GBS) infections , 1 baby per week dies of the infection & 1 baby a fortnight is left with long term disabilities.
So often this is avoidable, however, this is not something routinely screened for by the NHS. If you test positive, most Group B Strep (GBS) infections can be prevented by giving women antibiotics in labour to prevent the infection passing to their new-born baby.
The Gold Standard method for testing for Group B Strep (GBS) is enriched culture medium (ECM) and we at gbstest.co.uk work with an independent provider of pathology services who have Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA) for processing Group B Strep (GBS) tests using the ECM method.
Testing for Group B Strep (GBS) needs to be undertaken between 35 & 37 weeks.
When the ECM test is undertaken correctly within 5 weeks of delivery, a 96% negative predictive value (PV) for non carriage of Group B Strep (GBS) was shown at time of birth. 4% of women acquired carriage between the test and giving birth and a positive result of 87% (PV) for carriage of Group B Strep (GBS) was shown at time of delivery. 13% of women lost carriage between performing the test and giving birth.
The test can be done earlier, but then isn’t as reliable at predicting colonisation status at delivery. It can be done later, but the chance of the baby arriving before the result increases.
2 swabs need to be taken and sent with and accompanied by a completed request form. Step by step instructions will be enclosed with the testing kit.