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To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S3W-34738 by Shona Robison on 16 July 2010, what consideration has been given to the merits of using the enriched culture medium method for testing pregnant women for group B streptococcus carriage as compared with those of the standard swab/culture method used widely in the NHS.

Answered by Shona Robison (17/08/2010): The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has considered the evidence for screening based on the use of the Enriched Culture Medium (ECM) test to detect carriage of group B streptococcus (GBS) in pregnancy.

Health professionals are concerned that, whilst the ECM test''s detection rate appears to be very high, it cannot identify the very small number of women whose babies will be affected. This could lead to unnecessary anxiety and over prescribing of antibiotics during labour.

Current Status: Answered by Shona Robison on 17/08/2010