Date of this Version
BACKGROUND Survival from early meningococcal disease might be improved if general practitioners followed guidelines by immediately administering parenteral antibiotics (before hospital referral).
METHODS Structured telephone interviews with 20 GPs who had previously treated meningococcal cases.
RESULTS General practitioners knew guideline recommendations for early management of meningococcal disease: early parenteral antibiotics would be given by about half the GPs entertaining a diagnosis of meningococcal infection. Barriers to immediate treatment were: diagnostic uncertainty, regarding the case as nonurgent, and practising close to a hospital.
DISCUSSION Diagnosing meningococcal disease is difficult in general practice. Early antibiotic administration for suspected cases is appropriate even in close proximity to referral hospitals.
This document has been peer reviewed.