Group B Streptococcal On The Increase

14/08/2014 16:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

Group B streptococcal disease on increase - yet NHS do not screen for it

The Telegraph reports that there has been a 50 per cent rise in a deadly baby disease that the NHS doesn't screen for.

It says that the number of infants contracting Group B streptococcal disease has increased in five years.

New figures show that Strep B is the most common infection recorded on babies' death certificates in the first months of life.

The paper quotes figures released by Public Health England which show the number of cases have increased from around 200 in 2005 to 300 in 2010.

Group B streptococcal can often live harmlessly in a mum, but if it transfers to her baby during pregnancy, it can be fatal, with between five and 10 per cent of those newborns who contract it dying.

If the baby does survive, the disease can leave them with cerebral palsy or meningitis.

Babies are screened for Group B Streptococcal throughout Europe and America, but not currently in the UK.

Dr Nicholas Embleton, neonatal consultant at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told the Today programme on Radio 4 that not enough was being done in the UK to prevent it.

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