General pediatricians are confronted regularly with infectious disease issues that they manage effortlessly. Every now and then, however,pediatricians feel the need to call an infectious disease specialist. Following are three questions culled from a review of an infectious disease specialist's telephone logs that illustrate the types of questions general pediatricians are asking.

What do I do with a teenager who has had her third boil in two months?

Recurrent skin abscesses in boys and girls are a common problem that has made local and national news. Several professional football players and multiple college and high school teams have been affected. The usual culprit is Staphylococcus aureus, often resistant to methicillin (MRSA). Identified risk factors include skin abrasions, body shaving, and sharing equipment and towels.

What to do? Most importantly, you need to recover the etiologic agent to determine susceptibilities. Therefore, culturing the lesions is extremely important. Before culture results...

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