n South African Medical Journal - Fever in children - what it means and what to do




This month's issue of the features two important papers that address the management of fever and the analysis of blood cultures in sick children. Fever is a symptom that alarms parents and caregivers alike. Yet, fever in itself poses little to no risk to the child. Rather, it is often a symptom of a minor self-limiting illness, such as viral upper-respiratory infection, and is a positive response of the body. However, it may be a sign of common, major illnesses that carry high morbidity and mortality. Serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia, which is the 4th most common cause of death in children in South Africa, often present with fever. Also, malignancies such as acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and connective tissue diseases such rheumatic disease often present with fever as an initial feature.


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