Causes of non-malarial febrile illness in outpatients in Tanzania.

Hildenwall, H; Amos, B; Mtove, G; Muro, F; Cederlund, K; Reyburn, H; (2016) Causes of non-malarial febrile illness in outpatients in Tanzania. Tropical medicine & international health, 21 (1). pp. 149-156. ISSN 1360-2276 DOI:

Text - Published Version

Download (81kB) | Preview


OBJECTIVE: In sub-Saharan Africa, the use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (mRDT) has raised awareness of alternative fever causes in children but few studies have included adults. To address this gap, we conducted a study of mRDT-negative fever aetiologies among children and adults in Tanzania.<br/> METHODS: A total of 1028 patients aged 3 months to 50 years with a febrile illness and negative mRDT were enrolled from a Tanzanian hospital outpatient department. All had a physical examination and cultures from blood, nasopharynx/throat and urine. Patients were followed on Days 7 and 14 and children meeting WHO criteria for pneumonia were followed on Day 2 with chest radiology.<br/> RESULTS: Respiratory symptoms were the most frequent presenting complaint, reported by 20.3% of adults and 64.0% (339/530) of children. Of 38 X-rayed children meeting WHO pneumonia criteria, 47.4% had a normal X-ray. Overall, only 1.3% of 1028 blood cultures were positive. Salmonella typhi was the most prevalent pathogen isolated (7/13, 53.8%) and S. typhi patients reported fever for a median of 7 days (range 2-14). Children with bacteraemia did not present with WHO symptoms requiring antibiotic treatment. Young children and adults had similar prevalences of positive urine cultures (24/428 and 29/498, respectively).<br/> CONCLUSION: Few outpatient fevers are caused by blood stream bacterial infection, and most adult bacteraemia would be identified by current clinical guidelines although paediatric bacteraemia may be more difficult to diagnose. While pneumonia may be overdiagnosed, urinary tract infection was relatively common. Our results emphasise the difficulty in identifying African children in need of antibiotics among the majority who do not.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
Research Centre: Malaria Centre
PubMed ID: 26544671
Web of Science ID: 369949200017


Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months
Impact and interest
Additional statistics for this record are available via IRStats2

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item