Vector-borne disease is a common cause of hospitalized febrile illness in India

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American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene


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 (N = 970) and children (age 6 months to 12 years, N = 755) admitted with fever from the community to Sassoon General Hospital in Pune, India, from July 2013 to December 2015. We systematically performed a standardized clinical history, clinical laboratories, and diagnostics. 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 (N = 188, 19%), malaria (N = 74, 8%), chikungunya (N = 15, 2%), and concurrent mosquito-borne infections (N = 23, 2%) occurring most frequently in the 3 months after the monsoon. In children, pneumonia was the most common cause of AFI (N = 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.

Robinson ML, Kadam D, Khadse S, Balasubramanian U, Raichur P, Valvi C, Marbaniang I, Kanade S, Sachs J, Basavaraj A, Bharadwaj R, Kagal A, Kulkarni V, Zenilman J, Nelson G, Manabe YC, Kinikar A, Gupta A, Mave V. Vector-borne disease is a common cause of hospitalized febrile illness in India. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2018 Mar 26. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.17-0571. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29582731. 
  • Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA
  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA