New research published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has found that studies that involved routinely testing pregnant women for group B Strep had lower rates of early-onset group B Strep than those that either used risk-based prevention strategies, or had no prevention strategy.
Concerningly, the researchers found that there was no significant benefit to using risk-based prevention strategies compared with having no prevention strategy.
The research also found that studies that involved routinely testing pregnant women for group B Strep do not give more antibiotics to pregnant women than those using risk-based prevention strategies.
This important research was undertaken by researchers in the Netherlands which, like the UK, uses a risk-based prevention strategy and has seen their rates of early-onset GBS infection rise. They reviewed the findings of 17 studies to look at the relative success of risk-based and testing-based prevention strategies in reducing early-onset group B Strep infection.
This new research paper provides compelling evidence that testing-based prevention is better at reducing GBS infection in newborn babies than the risk-based approach.
Sadly, unlike most developed countries, the UK continues to follow a risk-based strategy and the latest data show that our rates of GBS infection are continuing to rise. In 2018, there were 131 more babies reported as having early-onset GBS infection in England, Wales and Northern Ireland than in 2003, the year that the risk-based strategy was introduced.
This can’t go on. Our rate is now double that of the US – how is this acceptable?Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive – Group B Strep Support
This research shows that risk-based prevention strategies like the ones used by the Netherlands and the UK are simply not working.
It is time for countries using risk-based prevention strategies to reconsider their approach, particularly given our findings that routinely screening pregnant women does not lead to antibiotic overuse, and has a reduction of the disease burden on mother and child.Professor Boris Kramer – Neonatologist, Professor of Experimental Perinatology and Director of Pediatric Research at Maastricht University Medical