Group B Streptococcus test

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Neonatal Group B streptococcus infection

Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS) is a normal Gram Positive bacterium

 which is carried by 20-40% of adults, most commonly in the gut.       For up to 25% of women, it is present in the vagina, usually without symptoms or side-effects. At birth, babies can become colonised (the first stage of microbial infection). In some cases, systemic infection can develop in the baby.


GBS infection in newborns is the principal cause of:

  • Neonatal meningitis
  • Neonatal sepsis
  • Neonatal encephalopathy


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The rapid, low-cost test for GBS

We are developing a low cost, fast (10-30 min) test for neonatal GBS. The test, based on the vesicle technology used in our SPaCE wound infection sensor, has been modified to be responsive to the  β-Haemolysin  secreted by GBS (Streptococcus agalactiae).

Symptoms of neonatal GBS infection

  •Grunting, noisy breathing, moaning, seems to be struggling to breathe when you look at the chest or tummy, or not breathing at all.

•Be very sleepy and/or unresponsive

•Inconsolable crying

•Be unusually floppy

•Not feeding well or not keeping milk down

•Have a high or low temperature and/or be hot or cold to the touch

•Have changes in their skin colour (including blotchy skin)

•Have an abnormally fast or slow heart rate or breathing rate

•Have low blood pressure 

GBS infection in young babies is a medical emergency: if you suspect GBS infection in your baby phone 999/112 immediately