Tdl Gbs Lady Aug 2018 265X500pxGroup B Streptococcus is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies in the UK. The testing kit contains everything you need to test for GBS carriage.

What is Group B Streptococcus (GBS)?

Group B Streptococcus is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborn babies, and of meningitis in babies up to age 3 months. 

 

Most GBS infections can be prevented by giving antibiotics intravenously (through a vein) at the onset of labour to all women who carry GBS. UK guidelines recommend Mums should be offered these antibiotics in labour if GBS has been detected during the current or previous pregnancy, if a previous baby had GBS infection, if she is in preterm labour (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy) or if she has a fever in labour. Another risk factor is waters breaking more than 18 hours before birth.  

 

Intravenous antibiotics in labour are highly effective at preventing GBS infection in newborn babies, reducing the risk for a newborn baby born to a woman carrying GBS from around 1 in 400 to around 1 in 5000. Oral antibiotics should not be given during pregnancy for GBS as they have not been shown to reduce GBS infection in babies.  

 

There are always small but potentially serious risks associated with taking antibiotics, and this needs to be fully discussed with your doctor or midwife.

 

Detecting a GBS carrier

Screening for GBS is not routinely offered in the NHS. Laboratory testing for GBS is routinely undertaken at The Doctors Laboratory (www.tdlpathology.com) following the method described in the UK Standard, using enriched culture medium (ECM). Two swabs (lower vaginal and rectal) need to be cultured, ideally in the last five weeks of pregnancy, to best predict GBS carriage around the time of delivery. 

 

When the ECM test is properly performed within 5 weeks of giving birth, a negative result was shown to be 96% predictive of not carrying GBS at delivery (4% of women acquired carriage between the test and birth) and a positive result 87% predictive of carrying GBS at delivery (13% of women lost carriage in that time). The test can be done earlier, but isn’t as reliable at predicting carriage status over longer periods. It can be done later, but the chance of the baby arriving before the result increases.

 

Testing for GBS needs to be included in the pregnancy and birth plan and discussed with the midwife, obstetrician or GP including the treatment plan if GBS is detected. UK guidelines recommend that, when GBS is detected during the current pregnancy, the woman should be offered intravenous antibiotics in labour. This will stop most GBS infections from developing in newborn babies.

 

Antibiotics may affect the GBS test result. If you are taking antibiotics, or have recently taken them, discuss this with your midwife or doctor.

 

Procedure for testing

GBS carriage can come and go, though tests are very predictive for a period of 5 weeks or so. Testing is usually undertaken after 35 weeks of pregnancy. Two swabs need to be taken and sent to the Doctors’ laboratory the same day by first class post, accompanied by a completed request form showing:

  • Patient’s name, address and date of birth. Please provide the address to where results are to be sent).
  • Mobile phone number if you would like also to receive results by text message.
  • Name and full address, phone and or fax number of midwife and/or obstetrician to whom positive results will be sent.

The result of the test will be available within 3 working days of receipt of swabs. Results will be sent to the patient and if positive to the named healthcare professional indicating whether GBS has been isolated (positive) or not (not-isolated).

 

Cost of GBS Screen

£35  (this includes the request form, postal pathology pack, 2 swabs in non-nutritive transport medium, post paid padded envelope and laboratory testing service).

 

How to request GBS Screening Pack(s)

Please contact The Doctors Laboratory

Tel: 020 7307 7373 Email: gbs@tdlpathology.com

The Doctors Laboratory is fully CPA accredited and has a long-standing reputation for the provision of pathology services to the private sector, industry and the public sector.

 

For more information on GBS

Please contact Group B Strep Support

Tel: 01444 416176  E-mail: info@gbss.org.uk  Website: www.gbss.org.uk

Registered charity No 1112065

 

Group B Strep Support is a UK charity providing accurate and up to date information on GBS for families and health professionals. Group B Strep Support endorses the availability of reliable prenatal GBS testing and wants ECM testing to be available to all pregnant women through the NHS. The charity’s current leaflets are available from their website at www.gbss.org.uk or by post. 

 

Key medical references

NICE. Neonatal infection (early onset): antibiotics for prevention and treatment (CG149).  National Institute for Health & Care Excellence Guidelines. 2012.

RCOG. Prevention of Early Onset Neonatal Group B Streptococcal Disease (3rd edition). Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Guidelines 36. 13/09/2017. 

Public Health England Detection of Carriage of Group B Streptococci (UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations B 58). 2018.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevention of Perinatal Group B Streptococcal Disease – Revised Guidelines from CDC: 2010. MMWR Reports & Recommendations 59 (2010).