GPs' knowledge of MRSA questioned

A Dunedin mother suspects GPs lack knowledge of the superbug MRSA, after her son was prescribed multiple cycles of antibiotics that were useless against the superbug.

Lorinda McLean said her son, whom she declined to identify, had MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) about four months before it was diagnosed.

The boy had lesions on his legs and stomach, and a cold for two or three months that would not go away.

The family had to change GPs before a proper test was carried out; in the first, the doctor scraped at the lesion but did not collect pus, she said.

Mrs McLean said the family's new GP, who prescribed effective antibiotics last month, was amazed the boy was still in reasonably good condition after months with the superbug.

It was a mystery how the boy picked up MRSA; he had not "been near" a hospital.

Dunedin Hospital infectious disease consultant Dr Jill Wolfgang said it was possible to miss an infection if a wound swab was not taken properly.

If an infection was not responding to treatment, clinical evaluation was important to ensure nothing was missed.

Initially, MRSA had been confined to hospitals, but now community transmission accounted for about half of its incidence, she said.

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