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Streptococcus: Pregnancy

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance his Department issues to strategic health authorities on the availability of tests to pregnant women for Group B streptococcus infection; (317273)

(2) how many infant deaths were due to (a) early and (b) late onset Group B streptococcus infection in the latest period for which figures are available.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence clinical guidelines for routine antenatal care, published in 2008, recommends that pregnant women should not be offered routine antenatal screening for group B streptococcus because evidence of its clinical and cost-effectiveness remains uncertain.

The following table provides the number of infant deaths where there was mention of streptococcus, group B. It is not possible to determine onset of infections but numbers are presented for the neonatal and post-neonatal periods. In 2008, there were 3,281 infant deaths in total; 2,260 occurred in the neonatal period and 1,021 occurred in the post-neonatal period.

Number of infant deaths where there was mention of streptococcus group B1, for England and Wales, 20082

Number of deaths







1 Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Deaths were included where there was mention of streptococcus group B (corresponding ICD-10 codes are shown in Box 1).

2 Figures for 2008 are provisional.

3 Neonatal deaths under 28 days after live birth.

4 Post-neonatal deaths at least 28 days but under one year after live birth.

5 Infant deaths under a year after live birth.

Box 1. ICD-10 codes used to define infant deaths due to Group B streptococcus infection



Septicaemia due to streptococcus, group B


Pneumonia due to streptococcus, group B


Congenital pneumonia due to streptococcus, group B


Sepsis of newborn due to streptococcus, group B