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To ask the Scottish Government what recent analysis it has carried out of adverse antibiotic reaction to intrapartum antimicrobial prophylaxis using narrow-spectrum penicillin to combat group B streptococcus infection in newborn babies.

Answered by Michael Matheson (03/12/2013):

The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit of the University of Oxford is currently carrying out a sub-analysis of the anaphylaxis study, again looking at those women treated with antibiotics in relation to GBS/presumed GBS infection. This will, for the first time, give a population incidence of the maternal and newborn disease due to anaphylaxis associated with antibiotic use in labour. The study has been running since October 2012 and is due to finish in September 2014. Large population based studies are required for conditions such as these which occur less commonly, so this is being undertaken at UK level.

There is National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on the use of antibiotics to prevent and manage infection early in pregnancy. This states that:

- antibiotics during labour should be offered to women when GBS has been identified incidentally (e.g. when testing for the cause of a urinary infection) in their vagina, rectum or urine in this pregnancy and to women who have previously had a baby with a neonatal GBS infection.

- antibiotics should be considered for two groups of women in pre-term labour (i.e. before 37 weeks): those whose waters broke before the labour started and those whose waters have been broken for more than 18 hours before birth.

- antibiotics should be prescribed if there is evidence of infection in the women, such as raised temperature.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Antibiotics for early-onset neonatal infection: antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of early-onset neonatal infection. London: NICE; 2012. Available from:

Current Status: Answered by Michael Matheson on 03/12/2013