Date of this Version

October 2005

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

This article is published with the permission of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Access Australian Family Physician online. Permission to reproduce this article must obtained from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Copyright © 2005 Australian Family Physician. All rights reserved

Abstract

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.

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This document has been peer reviewed.