So Albert Einstein is reported to have said. He wasn’t talking about the UK’s prevention of group B Strep infection in newborn babies but he could have. In the 12 years since the risk-based prevention strategy was introduced, no fall has been reported in the rate of these infections … yet we persist with the same strategy.
Rates of early-onset (0-6 days) group B Strep infection increased from 0.28 cases per 1,000 live births to 0.41 between 2000 and 2010[i]. Rates of late-onset (7–90 days) group B Strep infection increased between 1991 and 2010 from 0.11 to 0.29 per 1,000 live births. This is particularly disappointing since experts expected the 2003 risk-based prevention guidelines to reduce early-onset group B Strep infections by up to 60%.[ii]
Lead author and Epidemiologist at Public Health England, Dr Theresa Lamagni, stated
“While some of this increase will be due to better reporting, it’s clear that the rate of infection has increased over the past two decades across all age groups. […] Newborn infants remain at the highest risk of developing an invasive GBS infection.”
In 2013, the rate of early-onset group B Strep infection reported in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was 0.38 cases per 1,000 live births (0.23 per 1,000 for late-onset).[iii] So both studies show the same thing – the current prevention strategy hasn’t worked.
As Albert Einstein is also reported to have said,
“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
It is time to change the UK’s prevention group B Strep prevention strategy!