Two-week-old baby dies from meningitis caused by Strep B after parents were not offered a test during pregnancy.

Two-week-old Zach died from meningitis caused by an infection which could have been prevented.

Zach just after he was born

Mum, Shaheen McQuade, unknowingly carried the infection, which could have been treated with antibiotics if she had been given a swab test while pregnant. Shaheen and partner Craig, are now fighting for mandatory testing. Shaheen said: “Zach was not given the right to live. I’ve been denied the right to have my son in my life and watch him grow up. Instead I have been sentenced to a lifetime of heartache. “To lose a baby is devastating, to know it could have been prevented is torture. This has to change. “I think it’s neglect. The NHS took a gamble with my son’s life and they lost. I don’t want any other parents or families to suffer what we have had to go through.” MSPs backed her campaign and demanded the Scottish Government take immediate steps to copy routine screening in other developed countries. One in five pregnant women in the UK has Strep B bacteria in her system and around one in 2000 babies gets infected. Most are treated successfully but one in 10 dies, the NHS say. Research by Public Health England suggests screening would cost the NHS £11. The current NHS test is not mandatory and was not designed specifically to pick up Strep B, which can cause disability, pneumonia or meningitis. Mums-to-be are routinely screened in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Argentina and Kenya. Committee convener Michael McMahon, the couple’s local MSP, called for urgent action. He said: “This is done in other countries and it has been proven to be successful in other countries. “We appear to be swinging the lead when it comes to making progress on this, hiding behind arguments that there isn’t a particularly good test. Well, let’s find a test. Let’s invest the money to get the test so that we can make sure that it works properly. “While we’ve been waiting on a review, Shaheen and Craig, and I’ve no doubt other people, have suffered the loss of their child when it could have been avoided. “If this committee say anything at all, we should say that’s not acceptable." Zach's parents After an emotional hearing in parliament, Shaheen said: “I feel overwhelmed with the response we’ve had since starting the petition. We just want to keep his memory alive. I feel people are listening and are taking this on board.” More than 12,800 people have signed their petition. Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “I would like to reassure women that if, during pregnancy or following the birth of their baby, there is a risk of an infection, they will be monitored and treated appropriately. “We take this matter seriously and work hard to improve the situation.­­ “A number of actions on group B strep are under way, including a national study that will be used to inform research and develop new tests.”
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