Group B Strep Support (GBSS) exists to provide up to date and evidence-based information on group B Strep to new and expectant parents and their health professionals, and support to affected families.
GBSS is the only UK charity dedicated to working to stop group B Strep infections, including meningitis, in babies.
Our goal is the eradication of group B Strep infection in babies. We are still far from that – the UK rate of group B Strep infection in babies rose by 31% overall, and by 19% in the potentially preventable early-onset (age 0-6 days) group B Strep infections between 2000 and 2015.
Our vision is for:
- All pregnant women to be informed about group B Strep.
- All pregnant women to be offered the opportunity of a GBS-specific test late in pregnancy as part of their antenatal care, with the results of these tests used to inform further treatment, if any, to minimise the risk of GBS infection in the newborn baby
- All new parents to be informed about the key signs of group B Strep infection in babies to empower them to seek vital early treatment which can saves lives.
One day, a maternal vaccination will prevent more cases of GBS infection, including preventing preterm labour and stillbirths caused by GBS infection, post-delivery GBS infection in the mother and late-onset GBS infection in the baby. Vaccination would also avoid allergic reactions to the recommended antibiotics and concern about the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Investment into developing a vaccine against GBS infection should be prioritised.
At present, with no vaccine available, the view of the charity and its medical advisory panel is that the best way to prevent group B Strep infections in newborn babies in the UK is:
- Every pregnant woman should be given information on group B Strep as a routine part of her antenatal care.
- Every low-risk pregnant woman to be offered a sensitive test for GBS colonisation at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy without charge (and, where these tests are not freely available, all pregnant women should be told that these tests are available privately – click here for information on GBS test availability).
- Every higher-risk pregnant woman (those identified as carrying GBS, those who have had a baby with GBS disease, and those where recognised risk factors are present) to be offered intravenous antibiotics from the start of labour until delivery. For those women whose babies are at highest risk to be recommended to have intravenous antibiotics at the start of labour.
We believe this would prevent more GBS infection, disability and death in newborn babies.
It is the UK National Screening Committee’s responsibility to recommend for or against screening. Sadly, despite most developed countries using the screening approach to GBS prevention and seeing major reductions, the UK NSC has rejected international evidence. Their next scheduled review is 2019/20.
You can help saves babies’ lives
We’ve loads of great fundraising activities, ideas and inspiration to help you raise money for Group B Strep Support. From taking part in an event to nominating Group B Strep Support as your Charity of the Year at work, there should be something for everyone.
Group B Strep Support is completely independent, and we receive no Government or NHS funding. We are mainly supported by the kind donations and from people like you.
We are always looking for people who could give just a little of their time to help us with a range of activities. If that could be you, please get in touch.