Volume 98, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Acute febrile illness (AFI) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in India and other resource-limited settings, yet systematic etiologic characterization of AFI has been limited. We prospectively enrolled adults ( = 970) and children (age 6 months to 12 years, = 755) admitted with fever from the community to Sassoon General Hospital in Pune, India, from July 2013 to December 2015. We systematically obtained a standardized clinical history, basic laboratory testing, and microbiologic diagnostics on enrolled participants. Results from additional testing ordered by treating clinicians were also recorded. A microbiological diagnosis was found in 549 (32%) participants; 211 (12%) met standardized case definitions for pneumonia and meningitis without an identified organism; 559 (32%) were assigned a clinical diagnosis in the absence of a confirmed diagnosis; and 406 (24%) had no diagnosis. Vector-borne diseases were the most common cause of AFI in adults including dengue ( = 188, 19%), malaria ( = 74, 8%), chikungunya ( = 15, 2%), and concurrent mosquito-borne infections ( = 23, 2%) occurring most frequently in the 3 months after the monsoon. In children, pneumonia was the most common cause of AFI ( = 214, 28%) and death. Bacteremia was found in 68 (4%) participants. Central nervous system infections occurred in 58 (6%) adults and 64 (8%) children. Etiology of AFI in India is diverse, highly seasonal, and difficult to differentiate on clinical grounds alone. Diagnostic strategies adapted for season and age may reduce diagnostic uncertainty and identify causative organisms in treatable, fatal causes of AFI.


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  • Received : 18 Jul 2017
  • Accepted : 27 Jan 2018
  • Published online : 26 Mar 2018

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