Strepelle – a new DIY group B Strep test available in the UK

National charity Group B Strep Support is delighted to announce a partnership with healthcare company HiberGene Diagnostics to help pregnant women to test for group B Strep – the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies.

One in four pregnant women is unknowingly carrying group B Strep bacteria, which causes meningitis, sepsis or pneumonia in more than 500 newborn babies a year.

On average, one newborn baby a week dies from group B Strep infection.

Testing for Grop B Streptococcus

Testing for Group B Streptococcus (group B Strep or GBS) is not routinely available through the NHS, unlike countries such as the USA, France, Germany, Poland and many others.

HiberGene Diagnostics’ test for GBS is called Strepelle and uses the international ‘gold standard’ ECM method for detecting group B Strep carriage, recognised in Public Health England’s UK Standard.

“We are delighted to be working with HiberGene Diagnostics who are supporting our helplines and information services for new and expectant parents” says Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive of Group B Strep Support. “Pregnant women are rarely offered testing in the NHS, and if they are, a ‘gold-standard’ test like Strepelle is seldom available. With their help, and their test, we are confident that more babies will be protected from preventable group B Strep infection.”

Commercial Tests

Brendan Farrell, Chairman and CEO of HiberGene Diagnostics agrees, “Commercial tests like Strepelle enable women to find out whether they carry group B Strep in pregnancy so they can make informed choices about what is best for them and their baby. Identifying pregnant women likely to be carrying group B Strep and giving them IV penicillin during labour can reduce group B Strep infection in newborn babies by over 80%”.

Strepelle costs £39.99 and is available from selected independent pharmacies and online from www.strepelle.com.

Strepelle is an easy to use home-to-laboratory test recommended from 35 weeks gestation. Once
the laboratory has received the completed test, the results are sent via text within three working
days and, for positive results, a hard-copy of the results is also sent.

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For further information, please contact:
Sara Milne or Nikki Fox at the Strepelle Press office
Tel: 020 7736 4022 (office hours)
e-mail: saramilne@clareville.co.uk or nikkifox@clareville.co.uk
Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive, Group B Strep Support
Tel: 01444 416176 (office hours)
e-mail: jplumb@gbss.org.uk
Editors Notes:
Group B Strep Support is a national UK charity dedicated to eradicating group B Strep
infection in babies, and supporting families whose babies have been affected.
www.gbss.org.uk.
GBSS receives no commission from the sale of GBS tests, nor referral fees.
  • Group B Strep is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies
    and meningitis in babies up to the age of 3 months, passing from mother to baby around
    labour and birth.
  • 20% to 30% of women carry group B Strep, usually without harm or symptoms.
  • The ECM test (Enriched Culture Medium test) is the international ‘gold standard’ for
    detecting group B Strep carriage, recognised in Public Health England’s UK Standard. It is
    highly sensitive and has been used as standard for decades in many developed countries.
  • The ECM test is rarely available within the NHS although half of UK maternity units offer
    some testing for GBS carriage (rarely the ECM test), using a much less sensitive method that
    will miss up to half of carriers. Group B Strep infection in newborns born to women carrying
    group B Strep can be reduced by over 80% by offering intravenous antibiotics (usually
    penicillin) during labour to women identified as carrying group B Strep late in pregnancy.
  • By 2015, the number of newborn babies developing group B Strep infection had risen by
    38% since the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2003 prevention guidelines
    were introduced.
  • In the UK, one in 10 babies sick with group B Strep infection dies, one in 20 survivors of
    group B Strep infection suffer long-term problems and five in 10 survivors of group B Strep
    meningitis suffer long-term mental and physical problems, including cerebral palsy.
  • Routine testing of all pregnant women in the UK for group B Strep carriage is not currently
    recommended by the UK National Screening Committee.

 

PRESS RELEASE
Issued on: Thursday 5 January 2017

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