Presentation and management of insect bites in out-of-hours primary care: a descriptive study

Samuel Finnikin*, Jane Wilcock, Peter J Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives To describe the population presenting to out-of-hours primary care with insect bites, establish their clinical management and the factors associated with antibiotic prescribing.

Design An observational study using routinely collected data from a large out-of-hours database (BORD, Birmingham Out-of-hours general practice Research Database).

Setting A large out-of-hour primary care provider in the Midlands region of England.

Participants All patients presenting with insect bites between July 2013 and February 2020 were included comprising 5774 encounters.

Outcome measures This cohort was described, and a random subcohort was created for more detailed analysis which established the clinical features of the presenting insect bites. Logistic regression was used to model variables associated with antibiotic prescribing.

Results Of the 5641 encounters solely due to insect bites, 67.1% (95% CI 65.8% to 68.3%) were prescribed antibiotics. General practitioners were less likely to prescribe antibiotics than advanced nurse practitioners (60.5% vs 71.1%, p<0.001) and there was a decreasing trend in antibiotic prescribing as patient deprivation increased. Pain (OR 2.13, 95% CI 1.18 to 3.86), swelling (OR 2.88, 95% CI 1.52 to 5.46) and signs of spreading (OR 3.45, 95% CI 1.54 to 7.70) were associated with an increased frequency of antibiotic prescribing. Extrapolation of the findings give an estimated incidence of insect bite consultations in England of 1.5 million annually.

Conclusion Two-thirds of the patients presenting to out-of-hours primary care with insect bites receive antibiotics. While some predictors of prescribing have been found, more research is required to understand the optimal use of antibiotics for this common presentation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere070636
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2023

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