Fever of Unknown Origin in Adults

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Unexplained fevers that continue for more than three weeks are referred to as fever of undetermined, or unknown, origin. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this condition and what steps are taken in its treatment in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

A fever of unknown origin is a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher that lasts for more than three weeks without a clear reason.

Causes may include infection, cancer or an inflammatory disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or temporal arteritis. Other possible causes include certain medicines, thyroid swelling or blood clotting disorders.

Your health care provider will ask questions to discover the cause of the fever. The information that your provider will ask for may include:

A personal and family medical history

Places youve traveled, both in the United States and overseas

Medicines youve taken, including herbal and any over-the-counter medications, and

Contact youve had with sick people or animals

A patient will also be given a variety of clinical tests to narrow down the fevers classification.

Treatment varies greatly and depends on the underlying cause. In about 30 percent of cases, the patient is discharged without a definitive diagnosis. Most people who have a fever of unknown origin will get better or have a very mild illness.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.