A research team has debunked the call to restrict oral treatment options for patients with skin sores as a result of golden staph infections.
Led by Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies), findings show there has been inaccurate reporting of resistance to the recommended antibiotic, trimethoprim- sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim).
Remote communities carry a high burden of Staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as golden staph, with eight out of 10 children living in remote Indigenous communities acquiring skin sores, as a result of staph and strep infections, at least once before their first birthday.
According to Menzies’ and Doherty Institute’s infectious diseases specialist, Associate Professor Steven Tong, research carried out in remote communities around Katherine found very high levels of staph infections.
In 2014 the Skin Sore Trial, led by Menzies released discovery of a pain-free oral treatment option for patients which was more conducive to uptake than the previous intramuscular injection, penicillin.
The oral antibiotic, Bactrim, has been recommended for treatment of staph infections since.
However, recent reports that strains of staph have been resistant to Bactrim, has led to a concern about ongoing prescribing of the oral antibiotic.
Associate Professor Steven Tong and Menzies researcher Dr Tegan Harris, said the investigation into the possible resistance to Bactrim was critical to ensure appropriate treatment was being offered to children.
“During the Skin Sore Trial, we detected that some of the golden staph from skin sores were reported as resistant to Bactrim with standard laboratory testing. When we tried to confirm this resistance with additional testing, we were surprised to find that the staph could be easily killed with Bactrim,” Dr Harris said.
“We consistently found in two laboratories and by several different techniques that the staph was actually susceptible and not resistant to Bactrim,” Assoc Prof Tong said.
“We hope that people are aware and using Bactrim to treat infections,” he said.
Assoc Prof Tong said, although the recommendation is to use Bactrim, the other option penicillin, has the benefit of being a one-shot fix.
Bactrim on the other hand, is an oral antibiotic which needs to be taken consistently for three to five days.
“The consistent message we want to convey is it is not normal for kids to have sores, and if kids do present with sores they need to go to a doctor,” Assoc Prof Tong said.
Gorge Health doctor Dr P.J. Spafford said he sees quite a number of skin infections in Katherine and his first course of action is to use penicillin as per the recommendations outlined in the Therapeutic Guidelines.
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