Chesterfield mum wants pregnant women to be aware of this life-threatening infection

A Chesterfield mum wants to raise awareness of a life-threatening infection which has left her baby boy with brain damage.

Sunday, 28th October 2018, 12:59 pm
Updated Sunday, 28th October 2018, 2:03 pm

Rebecca Cook was unaware she had group B streptococcus (GBS) bacteria when she gave birth to her son Harry at the start of the year.

Sadly, he caught the infection – and now the eight-month-old suffers from brain damage and delays with his cognitive and physical development.

It is estimated around one pregnant woman in five in the UK carries GBS, which is normally harmless to the female.

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Rebecca Cook with baby Harry.
Rebecca Cook with baby Harry.

However, two babies every day develop the infection – and each week one of them will die and one of them will survive but with severe effects such as brain damage and cerebral palsy.

There is no routine screening during pregnancy for GBS in the UK – as there is in the US, Canada, France, Germany and Spain – despite a test that would cost the NHS just £11.

But according to the Group B Strep Support charity, pregnant women can take a simple, safe test for GBS at home from £35.

Rebecca, 24, of Hoole Street, Hasland, said: “It’s so important that women and pregnant women know about this life-threatening infection.

“I didn’t know anything about it until Harry was fighting for his life in Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“The NHS didn’t inform me of the effects.

“If I had known about it, I would have bought a test.”

She added: “Due to the infection, Harry has brain damage and global development delays.

“He’s got the brain of a three or four-month-old.

“He’s really behind on his milestones and at the moment we don’t know if he will ever be able to do things.

“My son has been through so much – he’s still going through so much – but I keep telling myself that I’m one of lucky ones because Harry is still alive.

“Sadly, many babies who contract the infection die.”

Rebecca described Harry as ‘the happiest little boy you can imagine’ despite his situation.