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Don’t Ignore Unexplained Fever: It May Be More Dangerous Than You Think

Don’t Ignore Unexplained Fever: It May Be More Dangerous Than You Think
Sometimes, your fever may seem like viral flu initially, but progress to high grade fever with prolonged period of 2 weeks.

Recently, we have seen a spike in cases of fever of unknown origin. Symptoms are similar to seasonal fever but does not respond to conventional treatment.

Written by Editorial Team |Published : July 23, 2022 8:58 AM IST

The extreme climatic variations have brought about changes in organisms leading to a surge in infectious diseases. It has changed the epidemiology of some infections. The fluctuations in temperature, especially in tropical countries like India, has led to a rise in vector borne diseases. These can either be through polluted air, contaminated water and food or through direct contact.

Link between temperature and infections

Temperature has always been crucial for breeding of vectors like mosquitoes, insects, parasites. Most of the mosquitoes breed between 16 C to 36 C, temperature above and below these see dip in the breeding, leading to lesser incidence of malarial fever and dengue. Monsoons are also favourable for waterborne diseases including

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Typhoid fever
  • Insect or rodent bites causing rickettsia fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Hookworm or strongyloidiasis infection from exposure to stagnant water with bare feet.

Fevers of unknown origin

Most times, the initial complaint starts with fever, with or without gastric complaints like loose stools, nausea, vomiting, or respiratory complaints like throat pain or cough. However, recently there has been a spike in cases of fever of unknown origin, which is symptomatically similar to seasonal fever like malaria, dengue and typhoid, yet not responding to the conventional treatment and it is getting trickier to diagnose since the investigations do not show a conclusive result. Such fever may seem like viral flu initially, but progress to high grade fever with prolonged period of 2 weeks.

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A challenge for physicians

Despite COVID vaccination helping in building up our immunity against the virus, the newer variants are a challenge, and one cannot ignore the possibility of COVID in such times, but the tropical fever without definite diagnosis, that are emerging with season change seem to be a bigger challenge for physicians.

Cause behind tropical diseases

Post pandemic, most people are indulging in travelling, also in festivities, visiting places around mountain regions, with heavy downpours or the seaside. Each of these regions are habitat to different vectors, hence different organisms, and that is another reason for a spike in such tropical diseases. The place of travel, season of travel, insect bites, exposure to water bodies, source of water and food intake help in scrutinise such type of infection.

Avoiding tropical infections

Monkeypox which is a viral fever involving multiple symptoms, has entered India. This is an emerging challenge now. But the key to prevent any such infections is to recognise your symptoms, act in time and get the treatment started at the earliest, in order to avoid complications related to such fevers.

Environmental change may seem inevitable but, to adapt to this change, we must do the following

  • Boost our immune systems
  • Focus on healthy eating
  • Regular physical activity
  • Timely health check-up.

(This article is authored by Dr Sharwari Dhabade Dua, MD, Internal Medicine, Consultant in La Femme, Madhukar Rainbow Hospital)

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