Leicester mum and baby almost died despite £15 test which could have prevented ‘traumatic’ event

A mother and her baby almost died at birth due to a bacterial infection – despite there being a simple £15 test which could have prevented the “traumatic” incident. Preya Vaja, 39, from Leicester, is calling on the NHS to make the swab test which detects group B strep available, as it is not currently offered to patients.

It follows an ordeal that nearly killed her and her baby, Uma, during a caesarean section at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2021. The pair ended up suffering from sepsis caused by group B strep. Preya was later left with PTSD and postnatal depression.

The infection affects one in four women and kills one newborn every week in the UK – yet it can be easily identified with a swab test that costs just £15. Preya said she was upset that the routine test was not available despite the number of children dying and being left severely disabled by the infection.

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Mother-of-two Preya said: “When I heard that what I went through could be prevented with a simple test, it was quite hard to hear. The physical and mental trauma I went through could have been avoided.

“It was very serious. It almost killed me and Uma. The family lives with that collective trauma with me.

“We learned a lot about Group B Strep and did a lot of campaigning. Women can be tested in the last stage of pregnancy.

“But the NHS does not offer this testing. In my case, it would have been vital. It costs just £15.

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