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Fever of unknown origin 

Fever of unknown origin
Fever of unknown origin

Steven Vanderschueren

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date: 25 February 2021

Fever of unknown origin refers to a prolonged febrile illness that persists without diagnosis after careful initial assessment. Although over 200 causes have been described, including rare diseases, most cases are due to familiar entities presenting in an atypical fashion. The ‘big three’ are infections, tumours, and multisystem inflammatory conditions. A miscellaneous category including factitious fever, habitual hyperthermia, and drug fever deserves consideration early in a patient’s workup, since timely recognition may avert invasive and expensive procedures. The clinician must rely on a very careful and thorough clinical history and examination that does not neglect any part of the body, followed by appropriately targeted investigations directed by knowledge of the broad spectrum of diseases and local epidemiology.

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