Friday, 20 July 2012 08:15


THE number of infant deaths and disabilities from Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection will double in the next three decades if current trends continue, a North Wales politician has warned this week.


Mark Isherwood AM would like to see a screening programme introduced in Wales.


Speaking in this week’s Business Statement he stressed that in countries where they test for GBS in late pregnancy, the number of infant deaths and disabilities among newborn babies has fallen substantially.



He said: “I call for a statement following a new report on preventable infant death and disability from Group B Streptococcus infection. I understand that a National Screening Committee at UK level is looking at the evidence relating to the introduction of testing for GBS in late pregnancy; women are not tested during pregnancy in Wales or the UK.


“In countries that have introduced screening, numbers have fallen substantially. Every year, large numbers of babies are affected, and while most recover, some are stillborn, more die in the first weeks of life, and others suffer lifelong disability. Given that this would be provided in Wales, at the devolved level, by our devolved Welsh NHS, I call for a statement recognising that, if current trends continue, the number of GBS infections and resultant deaths and disabilities among newborn babies will double in the next three decades. The number has fallen by 80% in the US, by 86% in Spain, by 82% in Australia, and by 71% in France, where screening programmes have been introduced.”

The Minster for Finance and Leader of the House Jane Hutt told Mr Isherwood: “You raise an important point on GBS, in terms of preventable infection and the impact on infant infection and in prenatal situations. We work closely with the UK National Screening Committee, and the Minister for Health and Social Services abides by its guidelines.”




Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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