Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson with Susan
Kyle and her children Alice-Louise and Daniel.
A MAGHABERRY mother is calling on local
representatives to support a nationwide campaign to prevent a
deadly but preventable infection in pregnant women.
Susan Kyle, a volunteer for the charity
'Group B Strep Support' (GBSS), is urging people to contact
their local MP and MLAs in a bid to make testing for GBS freely
available to every pregnant woman.
Susan got involved after her own experience
with the condition that affects 700 babies each year in the UK,
killing 75 and leaving 40 with permanent brain damage.
When she was 10 weeks pregnant with her
second child, Susan was told that she carried Group Bstrep.
"It was alarming and frightening at first.
During the birth of my son Daniel, various precautions were
taken to prevent him getting an infection.'
Daniel is now a happy and healthy 17 months old
Susan continued: "After the shock, fear and
total bewilderment of finding out about the condition and then
going on to have a healthy baby, I became concerned that this
condition is not routinely tested for in the UK during
pregnancy. Staggeringly, many medical professionals are unaware
of how GBS infection can be prevented, and most pregnant women
have never heard of it. The US and many other European countries
do carry out the test.
"We would like everyone in Lagan Valley to
contact our local MP and MIAs and ask for accurate information
about GBS to be supplied to pregnant women in Northern Ireland
and a sensitive test for the condition to be offered on the NHS
at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy. The Northern Ireland Assembly can
make this happen."
This is UK Awareness Week for Group B
Streptococcus and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson gave his
full support the week.
He commented: "This condition can be quite
dangerous for expectant mothers and their children and sadly has
resulted in loss of lives in a number of cases.
"Hopefully, this Awareness Week will help to
highlight the dangers posed by Group B Strep both amongst the
medical profession and the general public. I would like to
commend the Support Group in Northern Ireland for the excellent
work that they are doing to highlight the risks associated with
Group B Strep and to promote better screening and care in the
•To support the charity's campaign sign the
For more information about GBS call
or call 01444 416176.
Simple test that could save
BALLINDERRY woman Helen Savage whose son
Samuel died from Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is also supporting
the Awareness Week. Helen is visiting local clinics with Group B
Strep Awareness Posters and using her website
www.lifeafterloss.org.uk to promote a petition set up by the
Group B Strep Society for the NHS to
offer a routine test for GBS during pregnancy. Helen got
involved with charity Group B Strep Support after her son Samuel
was stillborn at 39 weeks in February 2005. Helen and her
husband Sam, from Ballinderry, were told after tests that the
most probable cause of their firstborn son's death was a Group B
Strep infection. She said: "I think raising awareness of Group B
Strep is incredibly important, because many pregnant women are
completely ignorant of the infection which could take their
child's life. In my case, as Samuel was infected in my womb, I
believe nothing could have been done to save him. However in
most cases the baby is infected during delivery, and if the
woman is known to carry Group B Strep, it is very simple to take
steps to ensure the baby is not affected." Group B Strep Support
is campaigning for pregnant women to be offered a reliable test
for GBS on the NHS. At the moment, the test is only available
privately at a cost of around £32. Eighty per cent of GBS
infections could be prevented if those women found to be most at
risk were offered antibiotics from the onset of labour.
To support the charity's campaign, sign the