Group-B Strep is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies and yet it can often be prevented by giving IV antibiotics to women during labour. This can reduce the risk to the baby by up to 90%.

Research has shown that the current approach of identifying pregnant women with ‘risk factors’ is not very accurate. 65% of UK newborn babies who develop group B Strep infections have mothers who had no risk factors and 70 per cent of women who do have risk factors do not actually carry the bacteria and are therefore unnecessarily given antibiotics.

The NIHR funded study being carried out at the Nottingham School of Medicine will measure the effectiveness of two tests to identify group B Strep in late pregnancy or labour – a lab-based test at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy, compared with a ‘bedside test’ at the start of labour.

Lois Harrison, a Senior Associate specialising in Medical Negligence claims said: “It is reassuring to see that this issue is being taken seriously. Group B Strep can cause life-threatening illnesses to newborn babies to include meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia. A better approach is needed to ensure that this risk is reduced”.

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