Prof Androulla Efstratiou spoke first about microbiological screening. Currently:
- Most units did not use a sensitive test to detect GBS carriage*.
- Risk factors recommended by RCOG to select women for antibiotics in labour were poor at predicting GBS carriage.
- Almost 1 in 5 women who had no known risk factors in fact carried GBS.
- Many GBS carriers were falsely given a negative result from a standard test.
*Since the presentation, Prof Efstratiou has confirmed to us that the ECM test is not routinely available from PHE laboratories.
“It is extremely important to have a very sensitive and also a Standardised Microbiological Screening Test. Currently Public Health England (PHE) offers a standard operating protocol called B58, and this is the UK Standard for Microbiological Investigations for Processing Swabs for GBS carriage.”