Kate was a guest at Group B Strep Support’s parliamentary event on 3 July to raise awareness of group B Strep infection in newborn babies.
Group B Strep is the most common cause of serious infection in newborn babies in the UK and one of the leading causes of neonatal sepsis and meningitis.
On average, two babies each day in the UK develop a group B Strep infection.
Each week, one baby dies from a group B Strep infection and another is left with a life changing disability. The bacteria may be passed unknowingly from a mother to her baby around birth.
Most group B Strep infections in newborn babies can be prevented by testing the mother late in pregnancy and providing intravenous antibiotics during labour to those who test positive.
However, the UK does not routinely test all pregnant women for group B Strep, unlike many other countries. Currently, the UK’s approach is to identifying pregnant women with ‘risk factors’ for their baby developing group B Strep infection.
Recently, a new clinical trial was announced to identify the effectiveness of the UK’s current approach compared to routine testing.
Kate said “Educating pregnant women and their families about group B Strep, which around one in four pregnant women carry, is absolutely essential.
“I was pleased to learn that there is a new clinical trial starting on group B Strep testing, but this won’t report until 2022, so it’s important that we continue to raise awareness of group B Strep in the meantime.”
Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive and founder of Group B Strep Support charity, said: “The current UK policy on group B Strep is not working.
“Currently, pregnant women are assessed for risk factors or group B Strep developing in the baby. However, we’re missing lots of babies whose mums don’t have risk factors but do carry the bacteria.
“This means we’re putting newborns at a terrible risk of dying or suffering from a devastating long-term health condition. This situation cannot continue.”