Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a normal natural bacterium carried in 20-40% of adults in the UK and 25% of pregnant women carry GBS in their vagina. GBS does not normally cause any symptoms and is not an STD although it can be passed on through sexual contact and skin contact.
Answers to the questions we get asked the most about how to use the Strepelle test kit.
What is Group B Strep?
Why should I be I be tested for GBS?
Group B streptococcus is a leading cause of early- onset neonatal infection, resulting in sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis in the UK. Early onset Group B Strep (EOGBS) currently affects 1 in 400 babies which can be life threatening, unfortunately there is no way to tell which baby will be affected.
Does GBS carry any symptoms in pregnancy?
Carrying GBS is asymptomatic, meaning there are no symptoms associated with GBS. The only way to find out whether you are is through testing.
Is GBS testing available on the NHS?
Unfortunately routine screening for GBS is not currently available on the NHS although many other countries routinely screen for GBS and have seen a significant reduction in GBS infections such as:
Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Dubai, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taiwan and the USA.
Why should I get a Group B strep test?
Testing is the only way to identify whether or not you are carrying GBS. If GBS is detected during pregnancy steps can be taken to minimise the risk of your newborn developing the GBS infection.
When should I take the Group B strep test?
It is advised to test between 35-37 weeks as our test has a high predictive indicator of whether you will be carrying GBS in the next 5 weeks which is the time you are more likely to go into labour.
Is it true that GBS carriage can come and go, so isn't worth testing for?
GBS carriage can come and go, however GBS status does not come and go daily. Studies show that a GBS status is highly unlikely to change in the next 5 weeks which is why it is advised to test from 35- 37 weeks in pregnancy. This ensures that your GBS status is highly likely to be the same when you are most likely to go into labour.
Do I have to test between 35-37 weeks?
No. Testing before or after 35-37 will show if you have a positive or negative GBS carriage however the GBS carriage is known to come and go If the test is taken before 35 weeks the status may change by the time of delivery. If the test is taken after 37 weeks although it can give you a good indication whether you will have the GBS carriage at the time of delivery the results may not come back in time as you could go into labour without knowing your GBS status. Testing between 35-37 weeks is the best way to know for sure if you will have the GBS carriage at the time of delivery.
I am over 37 weeks pregnant, can I still test for GBS?
Yes you can. Testing after 37 weeks will still give you an accurate result of your GBS status for the next 5 weeks, However there is a risk that you could deliver your baby before you receive your results.
Is the Strepelle test reliable?
Yes! We use the Enriched Culture Medium test which is recognised as the gold standard for detecting GBS carriage. When the result is performed within 5 weeks of delivery a negative test is 96% predictive to remain negative at the time of delivery and positive test is 87% predictive to remain positive at the time of delivery.
How do I take the test?
Taking the test is simple, and involves collecting samples with 2 swabs one from the vagina and one for the rectum. Clear detailed instructions are provided in the kit.
How does the test work?
Strepelle is the most accurate Group B Streptococcus test currently on the market designed specifically to detect Group B Strep carriage. It is a home to laboratory test, which means that you are getting access to the accuracy and reliability of a professional test from the convenience of your own home.
Once you have purchased Strepelle you can sit back and relax. Your Strepelle test will arrive in the post. The test is quick and easy to conduct and all you need to do is collect two swab samples. Everything is included in the kit and simple step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process. The Freepost envelope will allow you to post the samples back to our laboratory.
How are results received?
SMS, email or by post – the choice is yours. You will be asked for your preference in the form provided.
How long will I have to wait to receive results?
Results will be sent within 3 days.
What do my test results mean?
Whatever the test result, it’s good news – if negative for GBS carriage, that’s great; if positive, that’s also a good thing as the level of risk is then known. This allows you to contact your healthcare professional so that effective treatment can be given during labour to keep your baby safe.
If your result is positive you should contact your midwife or healthcare provider as soon as possible.
I received a positive result what now?
Whilst we understand a positive result may be concerning to you, the good news is that you can protect your baby. The first step is to provide your Strepelle results letter to your Midwife or health care provider who will tailor a plan for treatment when you are in labour. If you require more support please get in touch with us or go the GBS charity website www.gbss.org.uk who provide a wide source of information and on the phone support.
What is the treatment for GBS?
If GBS is detected during pregnancy, you should be offered intravenous antibiotics at the onset of labour 4-hourly until your baby is born. This will significantly reduce the risk of your baby developing early onset GBS infection by 85/90% cutting the risk of 1 in 400 to 1 in 4,000.
Must I have antibiotics if I am GBS positive?
Whilst it is good to receive antibiotics to reduce the risk of your baby developing GBS infection the decision to have antibiotics in labour is your choice. If you decide not to have antibiotics inform your health professional who will be able to monitor your baby to watch for any signs of infection for 12-24 hours.
Are antibiotics harmful to me or my baby?
There is a small risk of developing severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after receiving antibiotics.
• 1 in 10,000 of the mother developing a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and
• 1 in 100,000 of the mother developing fatal anaphylaxis, resulting in her death.
Past studies have shown that of 1.8 million women who have received antibiotics no deaths occurred and so the above statistics are likely to be over estimated. As you will be in hospital during your treatment and closely monitored your health professionals will be able to provide treatment to reverse anaphylaxis effects if it were to occur. There has also been news in the press regarding antibiotic resistance, you will need to weigh up whether you think these risks are acceptable against the benefits of preventing GBS infection.
Do I need to test if I am undergoing a planned Cesarean Section?
It is still good to test for GBS as although a C-section reduces the risk of GBS infection it does not eliminate it completely as GBS can cross intact amniotic membranes to set up infection in the baby.
I have not received my results in the time frame advised. What do I do?
Please contact us at email@example.com