New test could be crucial to early detection of infection
Scientists have developed a potentially lifesaving test that can identify the main cause of bacterial meningitis in less than two hours, reports The Telegraph.
The new method, developed by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), tests blood or spinal fluid for Group B Streptoccocal infection (GBS) by looking for a gene in the bug, and could be crucial development for early detection of the infection.
GBS can cause meningitis, septicaemia and pneumonia in newborns. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, but is often not detected early enough.
Studies show that GBS affects one in 1,000 babies in the UK (around 700 babies per year) and 1 in 8 babies infected with GBS die, according to Meningitis UK.
Dr Aruni De Zoysa, from HPA’s Streptococcus Reference Unit, who developed the test said: “If we can allow clinicians to diagnose GBS infection quickly and accurately, this will mean antibiotic treatment can start sooner.”
“Rapid and accurate detection of the GBS bacterium is crucial to reduce the risk of infant deaths from GBS infection,” she added.
Chris Head, chief executive of the Meningitis Research foundation, said: “A better diagnostic test for GBS could be a life saver.”
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