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June 2014
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New IDSA Guideline Covers Skin and Soft Tissue Infections
IDSA has released an updated guideline for the diagnosis and management of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI), which provides guidance to help physicians make the correct diagnosis, establish the source and cause, and determine the severity of the infection. While antibiotics are life-saving drugs for many types of SSTIs, they should only be given when needed and the updated guidelines will help physicians know when they are appropriate to use.

The number of skin and soft tissue infections has skyrocketed due to the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but many are minor and either heal on their own or are treated easily with antibiotics. The guidelines will assist in making treatment determinations.

“SSTI is a very broad category and its diagnosis and treatment can be extremely complicated depending on many factors, from the symptoms, to the patient’s health, to the type of bacteria causing it,” said Dennis L. Stevens, MD, PhD, FIDSA, lead author of the guidelines and chief of the Infectious Diseases Section of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Boise, Id.

The guidelines contain a chart to help physicians quickly diagnose and treat the SSTI, determine whether the infection is mild, moderate or severe, and recommend appropriate treatment. In addition, these guidelines are the only source for extensive recommendations for treating SSTIs in immunocompromised patients, including those with HIV/AIDS or who have had an organ transplant.

A 10-member guidelines panel comprised of SSTI experts from around the country reviewed hundreds of scientific studies, papers and presentations. In addition to Dr. Stevens, the panel included: Alan L. Bisno, MD, FIDSA; Henry F. Chambers, MD, FIDSA;  E. Patchen Dellinger, MD, FIDSA; Ellie J.C. Goldstein, MD, FIDSA;  Sherwood L. Gorbach, MD, FIDSA; Jan V. Hirschmann, MD; Sheldon Kaplan, MD, FIDSA; Jose G. Montoya, MD, FIDSA; and James C. Wade, MD, FIDSA.



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