Pregnancy: Streptococcus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 29th January 2020.

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Photo of Carla Lockhart Carla Lockhart DUP, Upper Bann

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of women undertake a strep B test during pregnancy; and what plans his Department has to make that test compulsory for all pregnant women.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The test that is used currently to detect strep B during pregnancy is the Asymptomatic Bacteriuria test, which is generally used to detect more common bacterial infections such as E. Coli and Klebsiella. The data on the number of women who undertake an Asymptomatic Bacteriuria test to identify strep B specifically is not collected.

The UK National Screening Committees last reviewed the evidence to introduce screening for Group B Strep (GBS) at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy in 2017 and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the benefits of screening would outweigh the harms.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has commissioned a clinical trial to compare universal screening for GBS against usual risk-based care. This £2.8 million trial (GBS3 trial) was launched in April 2019 and is due to report after four years. The UK NSC will review its recommendation in light of the evidence from the trial, after it reports in 2023.

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