Health update - pregnant women are now able to use a DIY test to test for Strep B - a leading cause of death in newborn babies
UK charity Group B Strep Support has announced a partnership with HiberGene Diagnostics aimed at helping pregnant women to test for group B Strep Â– the leading cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies.
25% of pregnant women carry the Strep B bacteria which causes meningitis, sepsis or pneumonia in over 500 newborn babies a year.
On average, one newborn baby dies from group B Strep infection every week.
Unlike the USA, Germany and France, routine testing for Group B Streptococcus is not routinely available through the NHS.
HiberGene Diagnostics' test for Strep B is called Strepelle and uses the international 'gold standard' ECM method to detect it.
Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive of Group B Strep Support, said
Â“We are delighted to be working with HiberGene Diagnostics who are supporting our helplines and information services for new and expectant parents."
Â“Pregnant women are rarely offered testing in the NHS, and if they are, a 'gold-standard' test like Strepelle is seldom available. With their help, and their test, we are confident that more babies will be protected from preventable group B Strep infection.Â”
Brendan Farrell, Chairman and CEO of HiberGene Diagnostics added Â“Identifying pregnant women likely to be carrying group B Strep and giving them IV penicillin during labour can reduce group B Strep infection in newborn babies by over 80%Â”.
Strepelle costs Â£39.99 and is available from Amazon
The Strepelle test recommended from 35 weeks gestation. Once the laboratory has received the completed test, the results are sent via text within three working days and, for positive results, a hard-copy of the results is also sent.