July is Grioup Strep B awareness month, Group B Strep is the UK's most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies, causing meningitis, sepsis and pneumonia. Most of these infections could be prevented, but around half of pregnant women haven’t heard of Group B Strep. (Group B Strep Support. Charity No 1112065)
Up to one in five of all pregnant women will be carriers of Group B Strep in the birth canal and the bacterium can be passed during labour to their baby. One in five newborns who are infected with Group B Strep suffer from serious, life-changing illnesses which can have life-long effects such as brain damage, hearing loss and sight loss. One in ten babies with the infection will die from it.
Strepelle is a home-to-laboratory Group B Streptococcus (GBS) test which can be bought at www.strepelle.com or at independent pharmacies from £39.99, it simply allows pregnant women the opportunity to test for this devastating infection from 35 weeks, with the highest accuracy ECM testing. If positive they are sent a letter to give them access to the potentially life-saving anti-biotics during labour.
The UK is currently one of the only developed countries in the world which doesn’t offer routine screening for GBS. In the UK, 70 babies a year die from Group B Strep infection
The only way of knowing if a pregnant woman is carrying the bacterium is by having a laboratory test. The highly accurate and easy to use Strepelle test (www.strepelle.com) will determine whether the pregnant woman is carrying the bacterium.
Strepelle was created in partnership with midwives and is designed to make laboratory testing for GBS more available and convenient, save babies lives, and prevent heart-breaking devastation in families. The home-to-laboratory test contains everything that is needed to provide a sample to the laboratory; instructions, two swabs and a pre-paid envelope; the results will arrive within 3 days of receipt of the sample, either by letter, text, or email (whichever is best for the receiver).
Brendan Farrell, CEO of Strepelle, said: “The launch of Strepelle will significantly reduce the many risks associated with Group B Strep in newborn babies across the UK. Once GBS is detected it will enable healthcare professionals to tailor a care plan to expectant mothers, ensuring that the correct treatment is administered during labour which will prevent babies from becoming exposed to the potentially harmful bacterium.”
You can read more about Group B Strep on the NHS website here: http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2037.aspx?categoryid=54