If you are thinking about making a Group B Strep claim then our experienced lawyers are here to help.
What is Group B Strep
Group B Strep (also known as Strep B) is a type of bacteria which lives in the vagina, rectum, and intestines. It is said that 4 in every 10 women carry this bacteria. Being a carrier of this bacteria is not a sign of ill health, but while Group Strep B is not harmful to the carrier, it can be passed to your baby at birth, creating a risk that your baby will suffer an infection such as sepsis, pneumonia or meningitis. These infections can be extremely serious for young babies and sometimes lead to death.
Because it does not usually have any symptoms it makes it difficult for a pregnant woman to know if she is carrying the bacteria or not.
Studies have suggested that around 1 in every 1,750 babies in the UK and Ireland are diagnosed with early-onset Group B Strep Infection (0 – 6 days old) and approx. 1 in 2,700 babies in the UK and Ireland are diagnosed between 7-90 days old.
1 in 19 babies will die from early onset GBS infection and 1 in 13 will die of late onset infection. There can also be a possibility that a baby will go on to have long term disabilities because of infections caused by Group B Strep.
Testing for Group Strep B is not offered on the NHS. To be identified, a pregnant woman would need to have a vaginal or rectal swab, or a urine test. The main test for Group Strep B is the ECM test (Enriched Culture Medium) and they are slowly becoming more available through the NHS. These tests usually need to be purchased privately because the test offered through the NHS has been known to miss half of the women who are carrying the bacteria.
How can the risk be reduced if you are a carrier of Group B Strep
If you have had a positive Group B Strep test, or urine test, you should be offered IV antibiotics during labour, to reduce the risk of your baby picking it up. If your waters were to break after 37 weeks of pregnancy and you know that you carry GBS, you will need to be induced straight away, so that it reduces the time that your baby is exposed to GBS.
Once your baby has been born, if you are a carrier of GBS and you did not have antibiotics before birth, your baby is usually monitored for 12 hours, to check for any signs of infection.
Can I make a Group B Strep claim?
It is important to make sure that you get your self-tested for Group B Strep and if you have a positive result, to inform your midwife, so it can be recorded on your notes. If you find that you are not given the antibiotic whilst in labour and your baby goes on to catch an infection, you are maybe able to make a Group B Strep claim and seek compensation for injury and harm caused to your child.
To discuss making a Group B Strep claim contact our friendly team by calling our free legal helpline on 0333 888 0404 or sending an email to us at [email protected]