Desborough couple back national call for routine testing of pregnant women for potentially lethal infection

Amanda Barnes and Jason Osborne from Desborough are backing a national call for the introduction of routine testing of pregnant women for a potentially lethal infection
Amanda Barnes and Jason Osborne from Desborough are backing a national call for the introduction of routine testing of pregnant women for a potentially lethal infection

A couple from Desborough are backing a national call for the introduction of routine testing of pregnant women for a potentially lethal infection.

Amanda Barnes and Jason Osborne’s daughter Mia died in January 2014 after contracting septicaemia, believed to be the result of her catching an infection from the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria present in her mother.

Unlike many other developed countries including Germany and Spain, the UK does not routinely offer tests to pregnant women specifically to check for Group B Strep carriage during late pregnancy.

On average, one newborn baby a day in the UK develops group B Strep infection.

One baby a week dies from group B Strep infection and one baby a fortnight who survives the infection is left with long-term disabilities - physical, mental or both.

It is the UK’s most common cause of severe bacterial infection in newborn babies, and of meningitis in babies under 3 months.

Up to a third of adults in the UK carry the bacteria without showing any symptoms, and it can affect newborn babies and their mothers.

In many countries, pregnant women are told a test is available to see if a child is at risk.

If so, antibiotics can be given to prevent infection to both mother and baby.

Although tests are available privately in the UK – costing about £35 – parents are not routinely told they exist.

Now a national petition has been launched calling on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to make testing for Group B Strep routine.

The petition currently has about 170,000 signatures.

Mr Osborne said: “Our daughter Mia passed away a few minutes after she was born in January 2014 after her mum was not diagnosed as GBS positive after her waters broke prematurely.

“We began an awareness campaign later that year and that, coupled with awareness raising activities, greatly improved the knowledge of the infection in the local community.”

He urged as many people as possible to sign the petition in order to highlight the campaign.

The couple are holding a Group B Strep Support charity awareness and fundraising family fun day on the afternoon of Saturday, August 8, at the Servicemen’s Club in Lower Street, Desborough, in aid of Group B Strep Support.

For more details please visit https://www.facebook.com/4miagbs?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.