Improving the care of skin infections in the Torres Straits

Cellulitis Outpatient Intravenous Antibiotic Study in the Torres (COAST)

Grant ID: EMJS-300R30-2018

Project Summary

This research project is looking at cellulitis in the Torres Straits. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that requires antibiotics. People with cellulitis usually have an area of red and hot skin and sometimes can have fevers and become really unwell. Germs called Staphylococus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes typically cause cellulitis. It potentially can cause serious infections and are a common presentation to emergency departments and admission to hospital.

In a tropical environment such as the Torres Strait cellulitis is extremely common and contributes to a significant burden on the healthcare system. Often patients present to health care facilities in the Torres Strait with cellulitis and are transported into Thursday Island Hospital for intravenous antibiotics. This is associated with significant retrieval, emergency and hospital costs. However the treatment of cellulitis in the community has been found to be practical, safe, and cost effective. We want to find out if cellulitis can be treated at home instead of in the hospital here in the Torres Straits.

The aim of this study is to validate outpatient intravenous antibiotic management of cellulitis in the Torres Straits. We anticipate that results from this study will improve preventable emergency and hospital admissions thus having significant health economic savings here in the Torres Straits.

Leveraged Funds

- Hot North: $35,329 [2018 Round 5, Project grant]


Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Dr Allison Hempenstall

Co Investigators:
Dr Josh Hanson
Dr Simon Smith
Prof Malcolm McDonald
Ms Pelista Pilot
Ms Emily Callander
Ms Haylee Fox


Collaborating Institutions


  • Hot North case study

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