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Children with very high temperatures are equally likely to have bacterial or viral infections

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 24 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:0-e

Research question How often does hyperthermia indicate a serious bacterial infection in children?

Answer About one in five children with hyperthermia have laboratory confirmed bacterial infections; a similar proportion have confirmed viral infections.

Why did the authors do the study? About one in every 2000 children presenting to emergency departments has hyperthermia, defined as a rectal temperature of at least 41.1°C (106°F). These authors wanted to find out what proportion of these children have serious bacterial infections and whether they have any distinguishing clinical features.

What did they do? They observed all 103 children presenting with hyperthermia to one US emergency department during a two …

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