Public Health England undertook a public consultation on their UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations (UK SMI) B58 “Processing swabs for group B Streptococcal carriage” during September. The B 58 was first published in 2006, and updated in 2012. This new update states:
“The method describes the examination of specimens from pregnant women for Group B streptococci (GBS) and is made available to laboratories where there is a clinical indication or when the test is requested.”
The update considers advances in testing methodologies and confirms the fact that low vaginal and rectal swabs, the samples from which are then cultured using enriched media (ECM test) are best for detecting group B Strep carriage
“Optimum yield will be achieved by selective/enrichment procedures applied to swabs obtained from the vagina and the anorectum which increases the likelihood of GBS isolation compared with vaginal or cervical culture alone. Recto-vaginal swabs are likely to isolate a diverse array of normal flora and use of selective enrichment broth is recommended to avoid overgrowth of other organisms.”
Many organisations and individuals responded to the public consultation, including Group B Strep Support.
The outcome will be given on their website here in due course.