Focus Area: Acute Febrile Illness and Sepsis

The Difficulty in Diagnosing the Etiology of Acute Febrile Illness

Acute febrile illness (AFI) is one of the most challenging presenting symptom in clinical medicine. With its broad and non-specific symptoms of malaise, lowgrade fever, and rash, numerous bacterial, fungal and parasitic causes are known to exist. Increased global travel, growing population and climate change have contributed to the emergence of new pathogens, posing a significant global public health concern to vulnerable populations.

AFI has non-specific symptoms and a broad differential diagnosis of infections, making it hard to gauge the true global burden. It is estimated in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs), up to 80% of children present to healthcare facilities with AFI. Discerning the pathogen underlying AFI is challenging due to limited technology availability for diagnosis of AFI pathogens other than respiratory viruses and malaria. As a result, causes often remain undetermined in LMICs due to limited available diagnostics.

Similarly, sepsis, the body’s response to infection and consequence of widespread inflammation in the body, has numerous causes. Inflammation and blood clotting during sepsis reduces blood flow to limbs and vital organs and can lead to organ failure and even death. Although often caused by a bacterial infection, sepsis can also be caused by fungal, viral or parasitic infections. The global burden of sepsis is largely in LMICs, accounting for approximately 85% of sepsis cases and related deaths.

Our Center has gathered experts with decades of experience to collaborate on this global issue.

Our Center's Work With Acute Febrile Illness and Sepsis

In collaboration with the IDI, we have undertaken several surveillance studies in AFI in both adults and children. Domestically particularly in the Emergency Room setting, we have evaluated diagnostics that can predict severity of infection as well as the etiologic agent.

Notable Publications