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Colchester mum urges people to push for routine Group B Strep screening

PUBLISHED: 11:32 24 July 2015 | UPDATED: 11:49 24 July 2015

Su Newton with daughter Emily and son William.

Su Newton with daughter Emily and son William.

A Colchester mum whose baby almost died at birth after contracting an infection is urging people to sign a petition calling on the NHS to introduce routine screening for the illness.

Su Newton’s daughter Emily, born in 2009, contracted Group B Strep (GBS) resulting in septicaemia.

Fortunately after spending the first weeks of her life on a ventilator Emily overcame the illness and is now a healthy five-year-old at Queen Boudica Primary School, Colchester.

GBS is an infection found in one-third of men and women, which is usually harmless, but if transferred to a baby during birth can lead to fatal illnesses including meningitis.

However there is no routine screening in expectant mums, with testing only done if there has been a previous incidence of the infection. If detected the transfer of the infection can be prevented with antibiotics administered during labour.

Mrs Newton, who is an ambassador for the Group B Strep Support charity, is using the organisation’s July awareness month to encourage people to add their name to an online petition to introduce routine testing.

Mrs Newton said: “As well as signing the petition, I would also urge any pregnant women to seek advice and, if their health professionals are unable or unwilling to provide them with reliable screening, to purchase their own test privately.

“Unfortunately, I was oblivious to the fact that I carried the bacteria, I wasn’t aware of the potential consequences and as a result Emily nearly died. Whilst I have a lot to thank the NHS for as they ultimately saved Emily’s life, I am upset it is because of the lack of screening and ante-natal information about GBS that Emily was put in that position.”

To sign the petition visit the Change.org website.

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